Some medical procedures ‘put on hold’ in N.S. hospitals amid high demand, staffing pressures

Click to play video: 'Man dies in N.S. emergency room lobby'
Man dies in N.S. emergency room lobby
WATCH: A man died, sitting in a wheelchair in the lobby of the Cobequid Community Health Centre’s emergency room, waiting to receive care. Alicia Draus has more. – Aug 16, 2021

Elective and same-day medical procedures are being “put on hold” though at least the end of next week in Nova Scotia’s Central and Northern zones, as hospitals deal with higher than normal emergency visits and demand for hospital beds.

Nova Scotia Health said “many” procedures will be affected, although cancer and other time-sensitive surgeries will continue.

Read more: COVID-19 - N.S. delays moving into Phase 5 after spike in cases

“This is necessary to create the inpatient capacity we will require to maintain flow and allow for continued emergency care,” the authority wrote in an advisory.

“We also anticipate patients will continue to experience longer than usual waits for care in emergency departments into the fall, particularly with the increase in COVID-19 cases and admissions now being experienced in the province.”

Story continues below advertisement

This week, the province delayed moving into Phase 5 of the reopening plan until Oct. 4, due to rising case numbers and two clusters — one in Northern Zone and one in Central Zone, which includes the Halifax area.

Read more: A woman’s chronic pain, and how she says the N.S. health system is failing her

Nova Scotia Health indicated the pressures on the health-care system come as staffing challenges and nursing vacancies have been made worse by the pandemic.

It also said that while increased wait times in emergency departments and delays in health care are difficult — it’s been difficult for everyone.

“We are aware of too many situations where our staff have been subjected to abusive behaviour and language, including personal threats,” the release stated.

“This is not acceptable and is adding to our staffing recruitment and retention challenges. Please be kind and know that we are here to help.”

Click to play video: 'Health-care workers condemn protest outside Halifax hospital'
Health-care workers condemn protest outside Halifax hospital

Health-care professional recruitment was a key issue in the August provincial election.

Story continues below advertisement

On Wednesday, the province said its newly-created Office of Health Care Professionals Recruitment is seeing some “early successes” and “promising leads.”

The province said two family doctors in Halifax have worked with the office “to address concerns and will now stay in Nova Scotia.”

As well, an anesthetist and a psychiatrist have signed job offers to practice in Cape Breton.

Sponsored content