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March 12, 2009
For immediate release

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Experiences Bed Pressures


The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is experiencing temporary bed pressures because of a surge in demand and a higher than usual number of patients requiring acute care and awaiting alternative services.

This has contributed to an increase in the number of patients in the Emergency Department awaiting an inpatient bed. To help ease pressure at the QEH, a decision was made this afternoon to pro-actively transport some patients arriving by ambulance to the Prince County Hospital (PCH) in Summerside.

Not all ambulance patients are being transported to PCH. Island EMS paramedics consult with emergency room physicians regarding the condition of a patient to determine the best location to provide care for an individual. A patient experiencing chest pain, for example, will be taken to the QEH.

The QEH Emergency Department remains fully operational and the public should continue to seek services there especially in critical, emergency situations.

To help address the situation, the QEH is working collaboratively with facilities within the provincial Department of Health to transfer patients, where possible and appropriate, to available acute care beds or to long-term care beds, throughout the province.

It is important that the provincial health care system continues to deal with surges in demand on a collaborative basis to make the best use of all available resources in meeting Islander's needs and to ensure patient safety.

The Department of Health is currently working towards significant health-system planning solutions that will help address the situation over the long term.

The Department of Health regrets any inconvenience this situation causes and appreciates the understanding of the public. Physicians and all health care staff in our provincial health system remain committed to providing safe, high quality care to Islanders.

Media Contact: Laura Jones
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