The province’s Better Care Sooner plan is helping emergency rooms stay open. The third annual Accountability Report on Emergency Departments shows an overall decrease of 1, 203 hours of emergency department closures in 2011-12, or a decrease of 6.4 per cent, compared with the previous year . Five communities where new Collaborative Emergency Centres have opened are experiencing even more dramatic decreases in the number of emergency department closures, according to data in the report, which was tabled in the legislature today, Nov. 28, by Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson. The annual report is required under the province’s Emergency Department Closures Accountability Act. Government included more recent statistics in the report to show the impact the Collaborative Emergency Centres are having. There are six CECs in Nova Scotia with more planned for next year. “This report shows government is keeping its commitment to keep emergency rooms open across Nova Scotia,” said Mr. Wilson. “The CECs are the key difference from previous years, so we will continue to build on that success in the year ahead.” Bruce Quigley, CEO of Cumberland Health Authority where three Collaborative Emergency Centres have opened since 2011, says that the CECs have given citizens a sense of security that emergency health services are available. “Prior to the opening of the CECs, the emergency departments in Parrsboro, Pugwash and Springhill were often closed on a weekly basis,” said Mr. Quigley. “Now that the transition to the CEC model has taken place, people know the centers will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet both their emergency and primary care needs.” According to the Accountability Report on Emergency Departments, in 2011-2012, emergency departments in hospitals across the province were open 94.7 per cent of the time, overall. Twenty-five of the province’s 38 hospitals had no closures. Thirteen hospitals did have closures, for a total of 17,717 hours.The Annual Accountability Report on Emergency Departments will also serve as a benchmark, so data can be compared and progress charted annually. The report can be found is available online at www.gov.ns.ca/health .