FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has introduced legislation that will make it mandatory for hospitals to report gunshot and stab wounds to the police.

If approved, this legislation would require hospitals to identify someone to report all gunshot cases to a municipal/regional police force or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police serving the area where the hospital is located.

“Often in the case of gunshot and stab wounds, a timely reaction by police is critical to prevent further violence, injury or death,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Hugh Flemming. “This act will help health-care professionals balance the need for public safety and the need to maintain patient confidentiality.”

Hospitals have the discretion on reporting stab wounds that are self-inflicted or unintentionally inflicted in favour of psychiatric intervention. However, even if it is believed a gunshot wound is self-inflicted, it will have to be reported as it may indicate issues with use or storage of a firearm that might place others at risk.