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Nova Scotia says hospital emergency departments closing more often

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Nova Scotia hospitals’ emergency departments were only open a total of 96 per cent of the time in fiscal 2017-18, continuing a negative trend seen in recent years.

The Health Department said Thursday most closures were in smaller, rural areas, and about half the province’s 38 ERs weren’t affected at all.

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The closures have been slowly increasing for several years – ERs were open 98.3 per cent of the time in 2015-16, and 96.7 per cent in 2016-17.

In total, emergency rooms were closed a total of 30,493.5 hours, while the report says there are 312,763 scheduled open hours annually for the province’s emergency departments.

The report says as of March 31 of this year, 20 emergency departments were open for 100 per cent of their scheduled hours, while 33 were open at least 90 per cent of the time they were supposed to be.

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Temporary closures were most acute in the northern part of the province, with 5,882 hours of closures, and the zone covering the eastern mainland and all of Cape Breton, which registered 4,238 closure hours.