**** NSHA Media Release
Many NSHA services reduced or suspended as part of COVID-19 response
Many Nova Scotia Health Authority services are being reduced or suspended until further notice as part of the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 as well as to conserve and redeploy our resources in anticipation of increasing demand related to the pandemic.
This means that beginning Wednesday, March 18:
· All elective outpatient visits are cancelled. Individual services will contact patients whose appointments are proceeding. Dialysis, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and mental health and addictions appointments will continue.
· All non-urgent diagnostic imaging appointments will be rescheduled and walk-in x-ray services will be closed. Cancer Care imaging, PET scans and other time-sensitive exams will continue.
· Outpatient blood collection services will not close completely but services will be reduced (i.e. reduction in hours and number of locations). Details regarding these changes will be communicated as soon as they are available.
· All same-day admission and elective surgical procedures are postponed. Cancer and urgent/emergency procedures will continue.
· As currently-occupied inpatient beds become available, they will be held open to create capacity to establish COVID units in designated hospitals.
This reduction of services is a planned component of our pandemic response and business continuity planning.
As much as possible, NSHA is contacting scheduled patients and clients directly to notify them of cancellations.
A number of NSHA facilities had already reduced surgical schedules for a routine slowdown coinciding with March break. This has helped to minimize the impact of the change at this time, although some surgeries have already been impacted.
Information on changes to these and other service interruptions is being compiled and posted on the NSHA website as it is confirmed – http://www.nshealth.ca/temporaryclosures
This page will be updated regularly and will be Nova Scotians’ best source of information.
“While a reduction of services is a difficult decision and will unfortunately mean a delay of care to some Nova Scotians who need it, we have reached the phase of our planned pandemic response where this is necessary,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, president and CEO, NSHA. “These changes allow our system to be ready to care for others who experience the most serious effects of COVID-19, and to protect our staff and patients from exposure as much as possible.”
NSHA’s COVID-19 incident management team has been meeting since January to prepare our organizational response to the new virus circulating around the world, focused on ensuring supplies and processes were in place and additional services such as assessment centres could be activated quickly when required.
Patients with additional questions about service changes and reductions should contact their health care team or clinic. Our teams are experiencing high call volumes and will do their very best to answer your call in a timely manner. We thank you for your patience at this challenging time.
For more information and updates about NSHA’s response to COVID-19 please visit http://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus.