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Doctor who called 'Code Orange' will lead ER review

The man in charge with figuring out how to solve Nova Scotia’s ER crisis is a familiar face.

The man in charge with figuring out how to solve Nova Scotia’s ER crisis is a familiar face.

Dr. John Ross made headlines this past winter at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax when he controversially called a Code Orange, which is usually reserved for major emergencies like a plane crash. The former head of the QEII emergency department decided the ER was so overcrowded drastic measures had to be taken.

The move didn’t sit well with some in the Capital District Health Authority but opposition parties championed the event as a sign the health care system is broken.

Now Ross will play a central role in making things better. During the election campaign, the NDP promised to solve the growing problem of rural ER closures. They said they’d hire an advisor to find solutions for fixing the system. Ross was named that advisor yesterday.

“What you do when there’s a long-term persistent, systemic problem is you seek expertise,” said education Minister Maureen MacDonald.

“We could not find, in my view, a better advisor than someone who has front line experience, that is passionate about high quality emergency room care.”

Ross will make $100,000 to conduct a review over the next year.

Both opposition parties praised Ross as a qualified candidate who has been outspoken about health issues. But they accused the government of downloading their responsibility onto Ross and waiting a year before taking action.

“We’ve had a lot of studies already done,” said Liberal MLA Diana Whalen. “I’m not sure we need a full year to study this problem again.”

Conservative leader and former Health Minister Karen Casey said her government had already worked out many solutions that should not be delayed.

“I believe that Dr. Ross will provide some very valuable information, but I’m not sure that Nova Scotians are prepared to wait,” she said.

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