P.E.I. health officials planning for possible hospitals strike in Nova Scotia

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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CHARLOTTETOWN - The P.E.I. government is putting a contingency plan in place to deal with possible overcrowding at Island hospitals in the event of a strike by health workers in Nova Scotia.
About 4,100 rural hospital workers in Nova Scotia are set to walk off the job Monday.
No new talks are planned between the province and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
A walkout would affect the P.E.I. health system because three to four Islanders are transported to a mainland hospital each day, most to Halifax.
There have been days where up to nine emergency patients have been transported out of province.
Dr. Richard Wedge, director of medical programs for the Health Department, said he expects the impact of a strike in Nova Scotia would be felt on the Island if it ends up being lengthy.
"We're not sure of the impact, but that's the whole point of beginning planning here in P.E.I," he said. "We're looking at what are the potential impacts to P.E.I.
"What are our contingency plans if we're not able to transfer people to Halifax?"
Halifax hospital workers won't be going on strike. However, a walkout would affect 33 rural hospital in Nova Scotia and that will put added pressure on those in the capital.
P.E.I. is in talks with New Brunswick to see if patients who may not be able to go to Halifax could be treated in either Saint John or Moncton. However, dialysis and transplant services are not available in New Brunswick.
Wedge said his greatest concern is a possible spike in cases of influenza in either province during a strike in Nova Scotia.

Organizations: Canadian Union of Public Employees, Health Department, Halifax hospital

Geographic location: P.E.I., Nova Scotia, Halifax Iceland CHARLOTTETOWN New Brunswick Saint John Moncton

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