Locks to be installed at Digby General and Roseway hospitals’ ER entrances


Published on April 13, 2017

Digby General Hospital.

© Tina Comeau

DIGBY, NS - Newly locked emergency room entrances at Digby hospital will ensure patient safety and privacy, but aren't a perfect solution, says communications manager.

Fraser Mooney is the Communications Manager for the Digby General and Roseway Hospitals, both of which are receiving locks on emergency department entrances.

He said these are a first step at increasing safety in hospitals, but that they aren’t entirely fool proof, and cannot promise a risk-free environment for patients.

“It’s really just there to prevent people from walking in easily,” he said.

“There are other things that could be done, but this is a small thing that we can start with.”

The locks are the by-product of a province-wide initiative. A report led by the Department of Health and Wellness, along with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and several union groups, identified easy access to emergency areas as a safety concern.

“This report included a safety audit at several hospitals around Nova Scotia, and the recommendation for added security in emergency areas came forward,” said Mooney.

Doors to the emergency department from waiting areas will now be locked at both hospitals, and anyone wanting access will be buzzed in by a hospital attendant.

Digby’s hospital will receive further security at its parking lot entrance into the emergency department and the entrance will be reserved only for ambulance, emergency patients and after-hours access.

“This is because of the geography of that entrance,” said Mooney.

“Digby’s ambulance bay is at the front, and many people were using that door as a main entrance, even though it leads straight into the emergency department. In terms of patient privacy, that really isn’t appropriate.”

Mooney said he believes these will happen at all Nova Scotia hospitals, and that some hospitals, such as Yarmouth Regional Hospital, have such systems in place.

He said this new system should not change the hospital experience very much for patients and their families, apart from the small step of being buzzed in.

“You probably shouldn’t be going back there anyway unless you’re a patient, or are accompanying a patient,” he said.