MEDIA RELEASE: Nurses Sounding Alarm on Critical Staffing Shortages

The nurses and health care workers of NSGEU are speaking out on compromised patient safety in Nova Scotia’s hospitals.

At a Local meeting held on Tuesday, March 12th at the NSGEU main office, dozens of nurses gathered to talk about what is going on in the workplace. Their message was clear: the health care system is at a breaking point.

“The Nova Scotia Health Authority refuses to deal with the critical shortage of nurses and as a result, frontline health care workers are being left to drown,” said NSGEU President Jason MacLean.

“Nurses at this meeting reported that their new norm is being overcapacity at 150 per cent, working two nurses short on a unit, and being told by their managers to ‘tough it out.’ This is simply unacceptable.”

To give an example of how chaotic and unsafe our hospitals are right now: NEDOCS is a universal program used to score and track the severity of overcrowding in emergency departments. A normal NEDOCS score is between 0 (not busy) to 200 (dangerously overcrowded). The NEDOCS score at the Halifax emergency department recently reached 420.

“The government needs to start disclosing these scores online daily, so the public can judge for itself how well the health care system is actually functioning,” said MacLean.

Emergency Department Monthly Visit data used to be posted on the former Capital District Health Authority website (now the Central Zone Health Authority website). However, the NSHA stopped sharing that information with the public in October of 2016. One of the key recommendations made by frontline health care workers in our Code Critical report was to ensure public accountability by sharing information with the public.

“We would appreciate if this government could be more open and transparent with these important health care indicators,” said MacLean.


The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on everyday.


For more information or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President Jason MacLean, please contact:

Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer

902-424-4063 (office)

902-471-1781 (cell)

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2 Responses to MEDIA RELEASE: Nurses Sounding Alarm on Critical Staffing Shortages

  1. jean v murphy March 20, 2019 at 2:57 pm #

    The NSHA is a failure.Our Health Ministers for the last number of years have been failures.There does not seem to be any effective solution forthcoming.The situation has been studied to death.That means people are suffering and dying because they lack health care.Now the next idea is to send nsg home residents back to their facility when they come to the emergency rooms for care.I foresee a lot of misery for sick elderly residents.The whole thing looks so hopeless.It is a crisis growing worse every day.

    • Holly Fraughton March 20, 2019 at 3:09 pm #

      Thanks Jean. We share your concerns… It’s a scary situation, and our members who are working on the front lines are doing their best. Now the government needs to do the same.

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