Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) has begun the process to reintroduce programs, services and the number of patient procedures that were suspended due to COVID-19.
“Over the past few weeks our teams across the organization have been working on how to safely reintroduce our health care programs and services that had to be postponed to support our COVID-19 response efforts,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, NSHA President and CEO. “We had made significant and unprecedented adjustments to the delivery of health care and careful planning is required to resume services and procedures.”
Since the pandemic began, Nova Scotians continued to receive primary care, emergency and urgent care, including surgeries, cancer care, mental health and additions support and virtual care in many program and services areas. However, there was a decrease in the level of activity and some services were stopped. All appointments that were booked out to June 30, 2020, are cancelled and will be rescheduled as services are reintroduced.
Key areas where services will resume include:
- Ambulatory (outpatient) clinics
- Various outpatient clinics will resume, continue to see patients virtually with in-person appointments as required, and/or increase the number of patient visits. The types of clinics that will resume will vary at locations across the province. Examples of these clinics include: wound care, ECG, renal, medical specialty, orthopedic assessment.
- Diagnostic imaging
- Increase in the number of procedures including CT, MRI and ultrasound at departments across the province.
- Increase the number of appointments as blood collection will continue by appointment only (there are some sites in Northern Zone where walk-in service is currently available.)
- Initial focus on completing day surgeries and outpatient; procedures such as cataract surgeries and endoscopy procedures; continue to do urgent/emergent; and, cancer surgical cases.
“We know there are many Nova Scotians who are concerned about their health since their care or treatment has been delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Carr. “We share their concern and request your patience as resuming services is going to take some time as we assess and prioritize patients whose procedures were cancelled. This needs to be done gradually and cautiously.”
Patients will be contacted directly when their appointment has been scheduled. As services resume, NSHA will also continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic which includes testing, contact tracing and caring for COVID-19 patients. Public health measures continue inside our facilities, including social distancing, and visitor restrictions.
The public is reminded that visitor restrictions remain in place for the safety of patients and staff. There have been recent changes to lift some of those restrictions gradually to support patients who require additional support.
Additional information can be found here: www.nshealth.ca/servicereintroduction
Patients who feel their health status has changed should contact their primary care provider (physician or nurse practitioner) or health care team. Those experiencing a medical emergency should always call 911. For non-emergency health advice from a registered nurse, please call 811. The provincial Mental Health Crisis Line also operates 24/7 at 1-888-429-8167.
Note to media: Drs. Carr, Greg Hirsch (Senior Medical Director, Perioperative Program) and Drew Bethune (Senior Medical Director, Cancer Care Program) will be available via conference call at 1 p.m. today. RSVP for call in details.