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Raising the bar on ERs

Dr. John Ross released Nova Scotia’s first comprehensive set of emergency room standards Thursday.

Dr. John Ross released Nova Scotia’s first comprehensive set of emergency room standards Thursday.

Ross, the man tasked with recommending improvements to the province’s ailing emergency-care system, said he’s hopeful the standards will be adopted in full by the Dexter government.

The standards revolve around nine points, including access to service, triage, staffing qualifications, performance of both district health authorities and individual sites, patient satisfaction and equipment.

If accepted by Health Minister Maureen MacDonald, the standards will set a minimum bar for quality of service — one Ross hopes will eventually be improved upon.

The first — and perhaps most controversial — standard states 24-7 emergency care should be within an hour’s drive for 95 per cent of Nova Scotians.

“As we evolve over the next few years ... there are a number of emergency departments clustered together that we can start looking at some alternate rules for them,” said Ross.

When Ross delivered his report on emergency care in October, opposition parties were quick to point out accepting his recommendations would break an NDP election promise to keep all provincial emergency rooms open.

MacDonald said Thursday she needed time to review Ross’s standards before she would commit to accepting or rejecting them.

“It’s the last piece that we need before we respond to his entire report,” she said.

 
 
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