Nova Scotia

Tatamagouche ER to close often over holidays

The emergency department at the hospital in Tatamagouche will be closed for much of the holidays, leaving people in the area relying on 911 for emergency care.

Health officials say switch to collaborative centre to end closures

The emergency department at the hospital in Tatamagouche will be closed for much of the holidays, leaving people in the area relying on 911 for emergency care.

The Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital has struggled for years to find doctors to cover the night-time shift. 

Krista Wood, with the Colchester East Hants Health Authority, said the new round of closures shouldn't come as a surprise.

"This is fairly typical for this time of year, and we've had about 1,500 hours of closures at that facility since April," she told CBC News on Thursday. 

ER closures:

  • 7 a.m. Dec. 23 to midnight Dec. 24
  • 3 p.m. Dec. 25 to 8 a.m. Dec 26
  • 7 p.m.  to midnight Dec. 26
  • 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 27
  • 7 a.m. Dec. 28 to 8 a.m. Dec. 29
  • 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 30
  • 7 a.m. Dec. 31 to 8 p.m. Jan. 1
  • 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 3

Wood said North Shore residents needing off-hours health care during a closure should call 811 to speak to a registered nurse, or see a family doctor the next day.  

"We always encourage people if it is a true emergency that requires urgent care that they contact 911 or visit the nearest open emergency room in the province," she said.

Wood said this should be the last Christmas where residents have to call ahead to see if the emergency department is open.

The hospital is expected to become Nova Scotia's second collaborative emergency centre in March. This means paramedics and nurses will provide coverage from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., with doctors working during the day.

"Our hope is the new model that combines primary health care and emergency services will help meet both those needs around the clock," Wood said.

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