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Opposition blasts province’s ER strategy

Under the NDP’s Better Care Sooner health-care plan, an undisclosed number of rural emergency rooms will be tweaked to become “collaborative emergency centres.”

Under the NDP’s Better Care Sooner health-care plan, an undisclosed number of rural emergency rooms will be tweaked to become “collaborative emergency centres.”

These centres, according the Health Minister Maureen MacDonald, will be tailor-made to fit the needs of the communities they serve.

For instance, according to MacDonald, it may be that with some additional training, a facility’s nursing staff could handle non-critical emergencies. With additional training, as well as innovative support such as the “doc-in-a-box” method of remote treatment, those nurses could perform some tasks traditionally performed by ER doctors.

“What we’re talking about is a lot of flexibility built into the system,” she said.

That still means limiting 24-7 access to emergency rooms, according to Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil.

“Emergency rooms are going to close across the province. That was very clear today,” he said.

PC Leader Jamie Baillie charged that the government’s plan is no plan at all.

“It’s more like a plan to have a plan,” he said.

“The solutions to the problems in health care have existed for years.”

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