The situation in Nova Scotia hospitals is getting worse by the day, according to the Nova Scotia Nurses Union.
Earlier this week, the province said same-day and elective medical procedures are being “suspended” at least until the end of next week in central and northern Nova Scotia, as hospitals face overcrowding. higher than normal and demand from hospitals. Beds.
Nova Scotia Health said “many” procedures will be affected, although cancer surgeries and other urgent surgeries will continue.
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In an email Thursday, Nova Scotia Health spokeswoman Carla Adams said 180 non-urgent surgeries have been canceled so far in the Central Zone and 45 in the North Zone.
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That’s just a side effect of the chronic shortage of nurses and other healthcare professionals, NSNU President Janet Hazelton said.
“I think it is quite critical now. We have a backlog in our emergency departments, we have ambulances waiting to unload their patients, “he said in an interview.
“They can’t just leave them, so they have to wait with them until someone can take over that care, and that’s happening in most (emergency rooms) across this province.”
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To compound the problem is that several emergency rooms in the province are closed due to lack of nursing staff.
“So patients who normally would have gone there are diverted to others who are already behind,” Hazelton said.
“So recently he has made the whole situation much more difficult.”
Hazelton said there are many nursing positions that must be filled. There are about 1,100 openings for registered nurses, 250 for licensed practical nurses and between 23 and 25 for practical nurses.
“There are many vacancies in a system of our size,” he said. “We are not big enough to absorb those kinds of vacancies.”
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Those that remain are burning, especially during the pandemic. Long shifts are very common and vacations and days off are few and far between.
Elective surgeries “will not be canceled so nurses can have vacations,” Hazelton said. “They are being canceled because we cannot keep up.
“In fairness, we support that decision to cancel elective surgeries. We believe that if you can’t do it safely, you can’t do it at all. “
With such a small staff, nurses are at greater risk of being injured on the job, Hazelton said.
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“He’s very critical in Nova Scotia and across this country. … And the nurses say, ‘I’ve had enough,’ ”he said.
“We’ve been saying this for years, and now it’s worse than ever, but we’ve had enough. We can’t take it anymore. “
The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and nurses unions across the country, including the NSNU, organized a day of action on September 17 to draw attention to the nursing crisis in Canada.
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The province’s newly elected progressive conservative government is ready to “start working” to find solutions, according to Health Minister Michelle Thompson.
In an interview with Global News on Thursday, Thompson said that she and Prime Minister Tim Houston will lead teams of healthcare leaders on an inter-province “Speak Up for Health Care” tour, where they will speak with healthcare workers across the board. Of the health. Zones to know the problems they are facing and the solutions they would like to see.
She said healthcare workers who meet with them will not face any repercussions for speaking out about their challenges.
“It’s really important that people feel like they can speak freely about their experiences and how we can try to move the system forward,” said Thompson, who has worked as a registered nurse for 29 years.
“There are things in the system that need to change, and who better to tell us what they are than the people who are working in the trenches on the front line?”
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Hazelton said she is so far encouraged by the changes the new government has made.
He said he is pleased that the province has created new offices for recruitment, long-term care, and mental health and addictions. You are also pleased to hear that you will hear suggestions from those who work on the front lines.
“We have a lot of young men and women, not just in nursing, but also in health care, who have all kinds of ideas,” Hazelton said.
“We need to be creative to find solutions to this.”
– with files from Jesse Thomas
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