Hospi­tal clo­sures draw wrath of North­side res­i­dents

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

On Sept. 23, res­i­dents of the North­side com­mu­ni­ties came to­gether at the Cape Bre­ton County ex­hi­bi­tion grounds arena to voice con­cerns about the an­nounced clo­sures of the North­side Gen­eral Hospi­tal and New Water­ford Con­sol­i­dated Hospi­tal.

The ne­ces­sity for the meet­ing was due to the lack of in­for­ma­tion com­ing from Nova Sco­tia Health Min­is­ter Randy Delorey, Pre­mier Stephen McNeil and the two Lib­eral MLAs here in Cape Bre­ton - Ge­off MacLel­lan and Derek Mom­bour­quette.

The ab­sence of all four of these Lib­eral politi­cians was quite no­tice­able con­sid­er­ing the con­se­quences this an­nounce­ment will have on 20,000 res­i­dents on the North­side alone. To make an an­nounce­ment of this mag­ni­tude and ex­pect the com­mu­ni­ties to not be up­set was in­sult­ing, but to walk out an­gry without tak­ing ques­tions or giv­ing an­swers was shameful on them. They must have for­got that we pay them.

I must com­mend NDP MLA Tammy Martin and the three PC MLAs - Ed­die Or­rell, Keith Bain and Al­fie McLeod - for clear­ing their Sun­day sched­ule to be in at­ten­dance on Sept. 23. The politi­cians were not asked to speak be­cause this was a com­mu­nity driven event and it was de­cided early on that it was the com­mu­nity that needed to be heard.

Over 400 peo­ple at­tended and more than 400 names were signed on a pe­ti­tion against any fur­ther loss of ser­vices on the North­side, in­clud­ing the emer­gency room. A slide show of res­i­dents putting ques­tions to the pre­mier and health min­is­ter will also be go­ing out on so­cial me­dia and pre­sented to the two MLAs whose rid­ings are af­fected by this an­nounce­ment.

Our lo­cal doc­tors who spoke, Dr. Lan­g­ley, Dr. Salah and Dr. Fraser, out­lined the lack of in­for­ma­tion com­ing from the govern­ment and ad­dressed the needs and con­cerns they have on doc­tor re­cruit­ment and pa­tient care. They de­scribed the hor­rific con­di­tions in emer­gency at the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal (CBRH) and the wait times.

What will hap­pen when 20,000 North­side res­i­dents and the res­i­dents of New Water­ford need to go to the Re­gional? What about our paramedics who are con­tin­u­ally short staffed and con­stantly need­ing to leave their zones to cover an­other, leav­ing one com­mu­nity without an am­bu­lance?

Our three mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­l­lors who spoke, Clarence Prince, Ear­lene McMullin and Ken­dra Coombs, all agreed that as the grass root rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the af­fected com­mu­ni­ties they, too, are still in the dark as to what is hap­pen­ing since the an­nounce­ment.

Then res­i­dents had an op­por­tu­nity to put ques­tions to the Lib­eral govern­ment, but there were no an­swers, only ques­tions. No­body in the com­mu­ni­ties were con­sulted by the Lib­eral govern­ment. Not one per­son or in­vited speaker in­di­cated they had any in­put or dis­cus­sion around the an­nounce­ment or the go-for­ward plan with the govern­ment.

One lady who came to the mi­cro­phone said it best.

She noted it was the res­i­dents of Cape Bre­ton who raised money and paid for the Re­gional Hospi­tal.

The clo­sures of St. Rita’s and Sydney City Hospi­tal prompted the need to build this hospi­tal and it would be used as a spe­cial­ized fa­cil­ity for the newly cre­ated CBRM at the time.

Not one thing in all the fundrais­ing from all the Cape Bre­ton com­mu­ni­ties that raised money to build the CBRH in­di­cated our own com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals would close down and that our ser­vices would be lost. Re­mem­ber we paid for that hospi­tal.

The North­side isn’t go­ing away un­til we se­cure all of the ser­vices we presently have.

Res­i­dents of New Water­ford will get their say on Sun­day, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. at the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion. Gor­don MacDon­ald

North Sydney

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