Bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion needed from health author­ity

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL -

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear sto­ries in the me­dia about the state of health care in Cape Bre­ton. Very lit­tle of it would be con­sid­ered good news.

Dr. Mar­garet Fraser, pres­i­dent of the Cape Bre­ton Med­i­cal Staff As­so­ci­a­tion, has been lead­ing the charge in warn­ing us that the sit­u­a­tion is dire.

Dr. Scott Mil­li­gan re­cently an­nounced that he will be leav­ing, ef­fec­tive Jan. 31, so we will be down yet an­other psy­chi­a­trist. Last month, we heard that a young doc­tor in Bad­deck was pulling up stakes and find­ing greener pas­tures else­where. Doc­tors and spe­cial­ists are leav­ing on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. The rea­sons are many with higher pay and bet­ter work-life bal­ance of­ten cited as de­ter­min­ing fac­tors in their de­ci­sion. Who can blame them?

The out­pa­tient depart­ments in Glacé Bay, New Waterford and North Syd­ney seem to be closed more than they are open. We are all aware of hor­ror sto­ries of long wait times at the Re­gional Hospi­tal.

The pre­mier, as­sorted politi­cians and Nova Sco­tia Health Author­ity Janet Knox came to Syd­ney a while back to an­nounce the clo­sure of the North­side and New Waterford hos­pi­tals. Peo­ple are con­cerned and can’t fig­ure out how all the present ser­vices can fit into the new health cen­tres.

I am con­fi­dent that plans are in place, but the pro­vin­cial health author­ity needs to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter. Let us know the de­tails so we can sleep bet­ter at night.

The travel dis­tance to the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal for peo­ple liv­ing in re­mote ar­eas of the North­side can be an is­sue for many of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. Not ev­ery­one has ac­cess to a car.

On a per­sonal note, a few years ago, I be­came very in­ter­ested in the es­tab­lish­ment of a new satel­lite re­nal dial­y­sis unit in Glacé Bay. Tom Peach, a re­tired teacher, do­nated $1.7 mil­lion for this project to hon­our his mother and fa­ther. That be­quest sat dor­mant for years. Af­ter a bit of pres­sure, the ball started rolling again as the Health Author­ity an­nounced, with great fan­fare, that the dial­y­sis unit was go­ing to be­come a re­al­ity. The area in the Glace Bay fa­cil­ity was al­lo­cated and the room was cleared out. I naively thought that Mr. Peach’s dream was about to be­come true.

The last time I vis­ited the Glacé Bay Hospi­tal, how­ever, I no­ticed an im­pres­sive dis­play in the main lobby of what the unit would look like so I thought that it would hap­pen in the im­me­di­ate fu­ture. Not so! The ear­li­est pos­si­bil­ity will be spring of 2020. I know that the wheels of gov­ern­ment move very slowly, but this de­lay re­minds me of that Cape Bre­ton say­ing: “Just get ‘er done.”

The list goes on and on. Many of our doc­tors are near­ing or past re­tire­ment age and are un­able to find re­place­ments.

To the pro­vin­cial health author­ity, my mes­sage is that Cape Bre­ton­ers are dis­cour­aged and we are afraid that health care will not be there for us.

To the politi­cians, my mes­sage is that we want it fixed ... the sooner the bet­ter!

Yvonne Kennedy


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