The province is investing $6.8 million to establish collaborative emergency centres in more Nova Scotia communities, Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald announced today, Dec. 14. The investment, which comes from the province’s Jobs and Building Plan, will reduce wait times and help more Nova Scotians receive better care sooner by providing infrastructure improvements needed for communities to set up collaborative emergency centres. “Emergency room closures and long waits have plagued our health care system and frustrated Nova Scotians for many years,” said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness. “Government committed to ensuring better health care for Nova Scotians and their families, and this investment is helping to fulfill that commitment.” The centres ensure that Nova Scotians living in smaller communities will be able to see a doctor the same day or next day and will have 24/7 access to emergency care. They are a key commitment of Better Care Sooner, government’s response to Dr. John Ross’s report. The $6.8 million investment will help streamline patients and improved privacy. It will be used to upgrade call systems, security, data and voice communication, and medical equipment such as an exam tables and furnishing for exam rooms and waiting areas. Collaborative emergency centres use a team-based approach that offers continuity of care. Services at the centres include access to primary health care by a team of professionals, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and nurse practitioners, for 12 hours per day, seven days per week, while providing emergency care 24/7. Nova Scotia’s first collaborative emergency centre opened in Parrsboro in July. Others have been announced for Tatamagouche, Pugwash, Springhill and Annapolis Royal. “The introduction of the collaborative emergency centre model in Parrsboro has provided citizens with assurances that health care services will be available when they are needed rather than encountering ongoing closures of the emergency department,” said Bruce Saunders, chair of the Board for the Cumberland Health Authority. “Since it opened in late July, more than 3,000 people have accessed care through the new centre.” “It is important that collaborative emergency centers be designed to meet the unique needs of each community,” said Bruce Quigley, CEO of Cumberland Health Authority. “Having infrastructure funding available for renovations and other capital costs should allow other locations to move forward more easily with the transition to the CEC model.” For more information on collaborative emergency centres or on Nova Scotia’s Better Care Sooner plan, visit www.gov.ns.ca/health/bettercaresooner .