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Statement Regarding Congestion in Horizon’s Emergency Departments


(Fredericton) May 15, 2019 - Thank you for being here today. My name is Dr. Edouard Hendriks and I am the vice president of Medical, Academic and Research Affairs for Horizon Health Network.

I will read a statement in response to congestion in the emergency department at Horizon's Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, and then I will answer your questions.

We hear concerns about congestion from physicians, nurses, administrative staff, and other health-care providers. We hear them from patients, clients and families. We hear you and we understand your concerns. And I want to say that we truly acknowledge the concerns expressed by our emergency room physicians for the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital.

Congestion in emergency departments is a system issue. It is not unique to Horizon's Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital or any Horizon emergency department. It's an issue across New Brunswick and Canada.

We struggle with overcapacity every day in our acute-care hospitals.

To address this, we need to enhance our primary health care model so our emergency departments are not a primary source for care. This type of care can and should be provided in a clinic, by a nurse practitioner or physician in their office.

When you're unwell, visiting an emergency department should be a last resort reserved for emergencies.

There are other options. This information is available through a website dedicated to providing alternatives to the emergency department:

Options include calling Tele-Care 811, visiting a pharmacist, making an appointment with your family doctor or nurse practitioner, or visiting an after-hours clinic if your primary-health-care provider isn't immediately available or if you don't have one.

We want our physicians, staff, our patients and clients to know that we are working on solutions to these challenges, but this also means there will be changes to where and how we provide health care.

We are working on a solution for patients that are waiting for community and long-term care. Today, one out of four hospital beds are occupied with alternative level of care patients. That is 400 ALC patients in our hospital beds, with over 90% waiting for a nursing home. That translates into people waiting on stretchers in our hallways.

In Fredericton, the emergency department is undergoing a process flow review with a goal of maximizing its efficiency.

I want to reassure you that despite the congestion we are facing in our emergency departments, patients who are experiencing emergencies, such as traumas, heart attacks or other urgent situations will be seen.

Thank you.




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