When Dr. John Ross completed his study of emergency care in Nova Scotia he said the status quo was not acceptable because the province could no longer afford the spiralling cost of health care. One of the results of his report was the Better Care Sooner plan that included the development collaborative emergency centres.
Several weeks ago the first of those centres opened in Parrsboro and if early indications are anything, it appears as though the initiative is working and will likely be introduced to other areas of the province experiencing frequent closures in their emergency departments.
These centres, staffed by health-are professionals, including doctors and paramedics, are designed to ensure that Nova Scotians have access to the help they need, when and where they need it by providing same or next-day appointments and creating partnerships that should help make the patient’s journey through the primary care system a smoother one.
It’s not going to be an easy ride. People are still used to going to the hospital for their most basic of needs and they have been conditioned to see a doctor as opposed to a nurse practitioner working in concert with a physician, or with an advanced care paramedic with a physician oversight.
For many years successive governments have come forward with their plan to fix health care. In the end, it usually meant throwing more money at the problem – something this province cannot continue to do.
As much as the collaborative care model can work in small, rural hospitals like Parrsboro, Pugwash and Tatamagouche, it’s something that could also work in larger regional centres like Amherst, Truro and New Glasgow – easing the long lineups in emergency rooms and getting the vast majority of those showing up at emergency rooms with the care and treatment they need sooner.
The need for trauma and specialized emergency services that those larger hospitals provide will always be there, but thinking outside the box and coming up with other solutions should lead to a healthier health care system.