EHS adds nurses to the 911 . team

EHS adds nurses to the 911 . team

Emergency Health Services (EHS) is adding more resources to its medical call center to manage non-life-threatening calls so paramedics can focus on emergencies.

Beginning in November, a registered nurse will join the center’s clinical support paramedic and physician to provide medical advice and treatment options to callers.

Priority will be given to people calling 911 who have a medical problem, and when necessary an ambulance will be dispatched. If the call is health-related but does not require paramedic assistance, the caller may be referred to an Environmental, Health and Safety Administration nurse, who will assess the patient’s condition, plan treatment, and provide medical advice.

“In an emergency situation, every second counts, so we must make sure every second counts,” said Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “This will help ensure that paramedics are dispatched to the most urgent calls, while providing immediate medical advice and assistance to those who do not need an ambulance.”

The EHS Medical Communications Center will be the third in Canada to have a nurse on staff and the first to have a nurse, paramedic and physician on site.

Adding a nurse to the center builds on recent efforts to improve emergency care and response times by providing additional support to paramedics. These efforts include:

  • Addition of an on-site physician at the call center last November to provide real-time clinical support to Nova Scotia paramedics, health care providers and patients
  • New non-paramedic positions, created in 2021 with more staff added this year, to handle routine patient transfers, aiming to free up more paramedic staff for emergency response
  • Screening patients who are taken to emergency departments to see if they can safely wait in the waiting room instead of the paramedic; This direct-to-triage initiative, launched in June, allows paramedics to take the road and respond to emergencies rather than staying with low-risk patients waiting to be seen by a doctor.

Nova Scotia residents are reminded that 911 is for medical emergencies and health advice calls should be directed to 811, which is staffed by registered nurses around the clock, seven days a week.


Today is an important announcement for Nova Scotia for being the first medical call center in Canada to have an on-site paramedic, nurse and physician to assist those calling 911 for medical communications. This is another part of the complexity we face in providing the right resource for the right patient at the right time and will help our valued paramedics bring them to patient care where it is most needed. There are many other initiatives being collaboratively considered to help retain and improve the workplace for our paramedics as we move forward to meet the challenges paramedics face on a daily basis.
Kevin McMullenAnd the business manAnd the International Union of Operational Engineers (IUOE) Local 727

What really made me want to get into this position is that it puts me in a place where I can help people at the beginning of their care and identify the different paths they can access. I was intrigued to be part of a brand new program and build it from the ground up as one of the first people in this role, which will help people get the right care at the right time. I am really excited to be with the MCC Clinical Team and get started.
Jessica ChisholmAnd the Registered NurseAnd the EHS Medical Communication Center

quick Facts:

  • Clinical Support Paramedics have worked alongside Environmental, Health and Safety Communications Officers since 2012; They help on-site paramedics make decisions about emergency care and transport patients between healthcare facilities
  • In 2021, the EHS Medical Communication Center received 183500 calls; Approximately 112,000 emergency and urgent cases
  • About 31 percent of emergency and urgent calls did not require a patient transfer
  • Since September 2021, non-urgent patient transfers by paramedics have been significantly reduced – paramedics have handled 25 percent of these transfers, down from 86 percent


#EHS #adds #nurses #team

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