Better communication needed from health authority
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!