Top News

‘Bursting at the seams’: Health minister, Kings North MLA speak to Valley Regional Hospital concerns

Kings North MLA John Lohr says the government failed to predict a growth in demand for procedures offered at Valley Regional Hospital despite the increase being “documented and well known.”
Kings North MLA John Lohr says the government failed to predict a growth in demand for procedures offered at Valley Regional Hospital despite the increase being “documented and well known.” - Kirk Starratt
KENTVILLE, N.S. —

John Lohr says the provincial government should have foreseen emergency room overcrowding and operating room backlogs at Valley Regional Hospital.

The MLA for Kings North raised the issue during the Nova Scotia Legislature’s late debate on April 3, when he argued the government has failed to provide enough resources at the hospital and has “created a health-care issue and put health-care providers in a difficult situation.”

Lohr says this failure was in spite of it being a “documented, well-known” fact that the demand for procedures offered at the Kentville was projected to grow and, with that, a need for more staff, more beds and the creation of more space was sure to come.

“This was entirely predictable – the government had been warned and made aware [the situation] was heading in this direction,” he says.

A Department of Health and Wellness spokesperson provided a statement on behalf of Health Minister Randy Delorey, noting initiatives the department is pursuing to address current overcrowding and backlogs at Valley Regional Hospital.

The prepared statement says a new initiative pairing a nurse and paramedic tasked to take over patient care as they are offloaded from an ambulance is projected to “help get more ambulances back on the road and improves patient flow through the emergency department.”

A second initiative listed is a new “wellness model that will provide greater support to patients before surgery to enhance their care and reduce their length of stay” to streamline the orthopedic surgery program, the statement adds.

The release states that 20 health professionals have been hired within the Annapolis Valley since March 2017, and six specialists and one family doctor in Kentville since April 2018.

Lohr argues these hires are not enough to keep up with growing demands at the hospital. He says while work, including the building of a dialysis unit and the hospice centre, are both positive, more needs to be done to address the problems.

“We’re getting an anesthesiologist in July, but we’re told we need another one. It’s the shortage of these staff positions, plus the shortage of space, that means demands in the Valley are just bursting at the seams,” says Lohr.

He says more investments in long-term care beds, operating room space and post-operating spaces are crucial to alleviating the surgery backlog.

“The basic demand outstrips the resources that are there – that’s what this comes down to.”

Sara.Ericsson@Kingscountynews.ca

RELATED:

Recent Stories