Because of ongoing dispute between internal medicine specialists, province
AMHERST - For the second time in month there is no ICU coverage at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre because of an ongoing dispute between the Department of Health and the hospital's three internal medicine specialists.
The hospital's ICU was shut down to new admissions early Monday and will remain closed until Monday, Dec. 3.
Cumberland Health Authority CEO Bruce Quigley said every attempt was made to find a part-time locum internist to fill the coverage gap and that arrangements have been made with neighbouring hospitals in Moncton and Halifax to send critically ill patients there.
"As always our primary focus is on patient safety so when we were unable to locate a replacement we made arrangements with hospitals in Moncton and Halifax and with EHS to transfer any acutely ill patients," Quigley said.
While the internal medicine on-call service is unavailable, Quigley said the ICU is still available as other doctors and surgeons can assume responsibility for the care of patients requiring certain types of specialized medical treatment.
This is the second time the health authority has had to make arrangements for the transfer of patients since the hospital's three internal medicine specialists - Dr. Scott Bowen, Dr. Galina Miletskaia and Dr. Krystian Szczesny - announced they would be changing their on-call availability from one in every three weeks to one in every four.
To date, the three specialists have not been able to agree with the current provincial offer for on-call services.