ER spillover into hallways creating patient risk at Halifax hospital: study

A union study of Atlantic Canada's largest hospital says patient spillover into hallways due to overcrowding and sudden transfers from the emergency department is posing risks to safety.

The report, released today, says health workers had to perform CPR in the Halifax Infirmary's elevators due to a space shortage.

According to figures obtained by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union through freedom of information, the Infirmary last year had 146 of the so-called code census incidents _ where the ER reaches capacity and patients are sent to regular hospital floors.

That's up from the 87 times that code census was called seven years earlier, though the figures have fluctuated.

The union made 15 recommendations to the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Health Department, including the need to publicly document code census calls and treatment wait times, and to revisit policies on staffing levels when overcrowding occurs.

The employees' union is also calling on the province to study the sharp increase in the number of patients showing up at the Infirmary's emergency room since 2009.