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The Moncton Hospital Emergency Department tackles long wait times

(MONCTON) July 5, 2016 - The Moncton Hospital (TMH) is urging patients with non-urgent symptoms to consider alternative options before visiting the Emergency Department (ED). In non-life-threatening situations, patients are encouraged to visit their family physician, a local after-hours clinic, or to call Tele-Care (811) before presenting at the ED.

A recent survey was completed polling approximately 300 patients in the waiting area at TMH's ED asking the reason for their visit. Most were there as they were unaware of alternate treatment, such as after-hour clinics or Tele-Care 811.

Increased pressures and demands on TMH's ED have led to congestion and long wait times for patients with non-urgent symptoms or who do not require immediate lifesaving care. Often, non-urgent patients can receive faster treatment through their family physician, a walk-in clinic or by calling Tele-Care.

"Our staff and physicians are working hard to see and assess patients as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Dr. Serge Melanson, Chief of Staff for Moncton and surrounding area. "But some non-urgent cases may have to wait hours to see a health care provider."

TMH is one of the busiest trauma centres in the province and receives a wide referral base for specialty services. Most days, TMH is running at full capacity and every bed is occupied.

Beginning July 6, TMH's ED has formalized an initiative to provide other options for care to patients who present to the ED with non-urgent symptoms. This patient and family centred initiative is part of Horizon's third Strategic Priority, an initiative to bring together Horizon and community partners and clinicians to improve community-based primary care. 

"We have been working with local clinics and Tele-Care to find solutions," said Dr. Melanson. "Our goals are all the same, we want our patients looked after as quickly as possible."

When a patient arrives at the ED, they will be assessed by a Registered Nurse who will determine whether there may be other options for care such as the patient's family physician's office, nurse practitioners or an after-hours clinic. If the patient is agreeable to the community practice referral, an appointment will be made by hospital staff. Patients who do not wish to take advantage of the community practice referral will continue to have the option to wait in the ED for care.

While long wait times in the ED may exist for patients with non-urgent symptoms, life-threatening conditions are treated immediately. A triage (sorting) system is in place in the ED, where the sickest and most vulnerable patients are cared for first. Horizon remains focused on providing the best possible care to its patients.   

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For more information contact:

Stephanie Neilson-Levesque
Media Relations

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