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Reaction mixed to the Houston government's plan for emergency departments

Union leaders and the leader of the opposition say the plan is missing a few key points
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Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre

Opposition politicians and health care stakeholders said announced changes designed to address issues in Nova Scotia's emergency department don't go far enough.

Nova Scotia Health Minister Michelle Thompson announced a series of changes Wednesday that included creating doctor-led triage teams to focus on admitting patients more quickly into emergency departments and assigning extra physician assistants and nurse practitioners to emergency rooms.

The plan also called an expansion of virtual care and for a tuition rebate for people who train to become paramedics provided they promise to spend three years working in the province.

Liberal Leader Zach Churchill told CityNews 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show that the plan should have seen trained health care professionals returned to top jobs within the health authority.

"When Tim Houston fired all of those people to put in a Conservative lawyer, his ally and friend, we did start seeing things slip more drastically." said Churchill.

In a release to the media, NSGEU 1st Vice President Hugh Gillis said the announcement had some positive steps included in it but failed to address the union's concern about the ability to retain skilled experienced nursing staff in the emergency department.

"Wednesday's announcement does not address that concern," said Gillis, "The employer must provide incentives that will allow them to effectively keep experienced health care professionals in areas of high turnover and specialized need, such as the emergency department." 

The president of the Nova Scotia Nurse's Union said in a tweet, "It's one thing to say, 'We respect what you're doing.' We need to start showing our members that we understand how hard they're working; we respect them & we are going to find solutions."

Dan Ahlstrand

About the Author: Dan Ahlstrand

Dan is the News Director at CityNews 95.7 and co-anchors All News Mornings on each weekday morning from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
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