As much as there's a long way to go before Nova Scotians can have total confidence in their system of emergency medicine, the short-term look is not all that bad. While emergency rooms continue to be closed temporarily, for the first time in a years there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald released her department's second accountability report on emergency departments on Thursday pointing out there were 196 fewer hours of ER closures last year while the number of unscheduled closures was also down by 1,195 hours.
The report, which provides data to enhance the understanding the challenges facing the province's emergency care system, will help government provide better health care to those people who need it during an emergency situation.
While some hospitals have seen a huge improvement, there are still many others struggling to keep the doors to their ERs open. Yes, help is on the way, through the opening of collaborative emergency centres, but you can understand how people are still a little jittery about the state of health care in Nova Scotia.
Where credit is due is how government is not repeating the past by just throwing money at the problem. It's establishing collaborative emergency centres and setting up a rapid assessment unit at the QEII hospital in Halifax. It's also hiring paramedics to work at nursing homes and it's training paramedics in the use of life-saving drugs.
Even more encouraging is the fact the information collected will continue to be used as a benchmark so the data can be compared and progress charted annually so government and Nova Scotians will know whether we are heading in the right direction.
In the coming months it will be important for MacDonald's department to continue commicating with those who use the system so they can be assured it will be there when they need it. Otherwise, it could be an exercise in frustration.