A new report says Nova Scotia’s ambulance service is in a “critical state” and isn’t meeting mandated response times for patient transfers at hospitals.
Provincial auditor general Kim Adair says the average wait time for an ambulance in 2022 rose from 14 minutes to 25 minutes—an increase of 79 percent.
Adair says the longer response times to emergency calls are putting patients at risk, especially in the Halifax area.
The report says that during 2022, paramedics on average spent a quarter of their working hours in emergency department hallways waiting to transfer their patients.
The longest delays were found in Halifax-area hospitals, where delays of over three hours were reported at the Halifax Infirmary.
Adair says none of the province’s largest hospitals consistently met the province’s transfer standard of 30 minutes last year, with her audit finding the standard was met only 23 percent of the time.
The auditor general’s report says the poor response times are symptomatic of a system that has seen a 17 percent increase in 911 calls requiring an ambulance during the last five years.