New Brunswick Tories have proposed legislation that will require hospitals to report stab and gunshot wounds to police.
The province says if approved, hospitals would need a designated person that would report all gunshot cases to either municipal or regional police, or the local RCMP detachment.
In a Wednesday news release, Justice and Public Safety Minister Hugh Flemming said when it comes to gunshot and stab wounds, “a timely reaction by police is critical to prevent further violence, injury or death.”
“This act will help health-care professionals balance the need for public safety and the need to maintain patient confidentiality,” he said.
Nova Scotia has a similar legislation in place with its Gunshot Wounds Mandatory Reporting Act.
Nova Scotia Health Authority requires healthcare staff to report not only gunshot wounds, but also child abuse, child pornography or incidents of vulnerable adults.
If passed, the new New Brunswick legislation would allow hospitals discretion on reporting self-inflicted or “unintentionally inflicted in favour of psychiatric intervention.”
However, all gunshot wound must be reported, even if it is believed to be is self-inflicted, “as it may indicate issues with use or storage of a firearm that might place others at risk,” the province said.