Horizon Health asks New Brunswickers to think twice before heading to the ER

NEW BRUNSWICK – In a statement released Friday, Sept. 24, the Horizon Health network asks the public to “consider their health options” prior to heading to an ER department across the province.

The statement comes as both Dr. John Dornan, interim president and chief executive officer of Horizon Health and Dr. France Desrosiers, president and chief executive officer of Vitalite Health Network both spoke at a live technical briefing on Friday of severe medical staff shortages at facilities across the province, resulting in the temporary closure of some units like labour and delivery in some locations while staff is pulled elsewhere as needed.

The statement warns those with “non-urgent medical issues” could face extended wait times at any ER as priority is given to those who are deemed “critical care”.

For those who require non-urgent care, Horizon Health suggests using after hours or walk-in clinics in the region. These clinic locations can treat “minor illnesses and ailments, such as earaches, sore throats, or prescription refills”.

In addition, St. Joseph’s Hospital Urgent Care Centre offers same-day treatment for non-life-threatening situations, and operated seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can register starting at 8:30 a.m. and registration ends at 8:30 p.m.

If you require a COVID-19 test, do not head to the ER, says the statement. Instead, contact an assessment centre, and appointments can be booked through a portal at gnb.ca/coronavirus, or you can call Tele-Care 811.

The Courier contacted media relations at Horizon Health to inquire what residents in areas like St. Stephen or Saint Andrews, and St. George should do in the absence of a walk-in or urgent care facility in the region, but did not receive a response by press time.