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N.B. Green Leader calling for action for overcrowded ERs

By Tara Clow Jan 4, 2024 | 6:50 AM

Horrifying, that’s how New Brunswick’s Green Party leader describes the current situation in the province’s emergency departments.

David Coon says ER wait times have been dangerously long since he was elected in 2014.

“It’s the results of a decade of neglect because these problems were evident 10 years ago,” Coon adds.

“Patients admitted through the ERs are occupying exam rooms and tying up equipment needed by those in the waiting rooms because they are waiting for beds. To unclog the system, the hospitals need to be funded to establish short-stay wards, beyond the ER, where patients can wait for beds in the regular wards,” Coon adds.

He also wants to see an increase in the number of hours funded for doctors working in the ER.

“The ER docs and nurses have been pleading for action for a decade. They’ve made very practical proposals for how to solve the problem, and it’s fallen on deaf ears. We need action now,” Coon says.

He adds that the state of healthcare in the province now is the result of years of neglect by successive governments to make real investments in our people who work in the healthcare system and in the infrastructure itself.

“The chickens are coming home to roost, unfortunately. One of the reasons that the border was closed during the worst of the pandemic was because of the fear that our healthcare system would collapse because it could not stand the pressure. And we’re starting to get a little window into that from the last couple of days.”

Coon adds that if something isn’t done, the province will continue to see a downward spiral of more nurses and physicians leaving their positions, which will only make the matter worse.

“We will see more deaths in our ERs or people’s homes because they’re not coming to the hospital when they should. So it’s it’s a mess”