Horizon committed to action, collaboration to improve the health care experience for all New Brunswickers

(HORIZON) – Horizon Health Network (Horizon) is committed to a number of initiatives to improve overcrowding in our hospitals and long wait times in our Emergency Departments (EDs).

Over the holidays, our hospitals were not able to effectively respond to demands due to several compounding factors:

  • Surge of patients presenting to EDs;
  • Slow down in discharges of patients waiting for community supports or long-term care placement; 
  • Decrease in staffing resources (vacancies and illness);
  • Increase in acuity of patients presenting (Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) Levels 1+2); and
  • High volume of patients waiting for nursing home and special care beds;

“We understand the ED is sometimes the only place for patients to go, and our staff and physicians have done a tremendous job at managing this influx and I commend them for quick action to see as many patients as quickly as possible while providing safe and quality care,” said Margaret Melanson, Horizon’s interim President and CEO.

To improve the health care experience for all patients and their loved ones, we are committed to a number of collaborative initiatives with our health system partners on solutions to help patients get the most appropriate care they need at the right time and at the right place

“We are pleased to have the support of the departments of Health and Social Development, Ambulance New Brunswick, Extra-Mural Program (EMP) and other key partners to collaborate on immediate and long-terms initiatives to improve the system as a whole, for all New Brunswickers,” said Ms. Melanson.

These include:

  • creating additional bed capacity where possible;
  • increasing availability of allied health resources for inpatient care;
  • maximizing scope of practice of all professionals to support nursing staff and physicians in areas experiencing high patient volumes and staffing shortages; 
  • working closely with our partners at EMP and Social Development on initiatives that will provide patients who are waiting for nursing home and special care beds support at discharge, and maximizing availability of resources in the community; and
  • working closely with physicians and nursing staff to increase urgent care clinic availability for the public. 

With seasonal health pressures facing our EDs, we continue to ask the public to their health care options before presenting to an ED.

Horizon’s EDs will continue to see a large volumes of patients, and our priority is to care for those requiring trauma, critical, and intensive care, victims of sexual and intimate partner violence, and those experiencing urgent mental health. Patients with non-urgent medical issues may experience long wait times.

We encourage the public to visit SoWhyWait.ca to help choose the best option for care, such as a pharmacist, primary health care provider, after-hours clinic, virtual care (such as eVisitNB.ca), Tele-Care 811, or the Emergency Department. This includes patients who are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory infection. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or proceed to your local Emergency Department.

Horizon has a plan to improve health care in New Brunswick. Our plan is focused on retention and recruitment efforts and improving the overall patient experience by addressing patient flow and access to services. Further details about Horizon’s four priority areas are available at HorizonNB.ca. This initiative also supports the Government of New Brunswick’s provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action.


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