“She was like our guardian angel”
Residents upset with the loss of nurse
Once you take away from people a service they have had for years, they are bound to be upset.
If that service is in health care, they could be doubly agitated.
About 30 residents of HermitageSandyville, including the two paramedics and two emergency medical responders of the local ambulance service, confronted Central Health’s Vice-Chair of Rural Health Services Heather Brown on the parking lot of the Town Hall.
Ms. Brown was leaving a meeting with the town council and a councillor from the neighbouring Town of Seal Cove.
Chanting “Save our Nurse!,” the group expressed their displeasure at Central Health’s declaration of redundancy of the position of registered nurse at the Hermitage Medical Clinic, giving reasons they believed for the continuance of the nursing position, which had been there for 14 years.
Ms. Brown listened to their concerns and reiterated some of the same points she had made earlier when she met with the council.
Mayor Steve Crewe said Ms. Brown, accompanied by Wendy Pierce and Bob Allan of the Connaigre Peninsula Regional Health Centre, gave the rationale for moving the position to Harbour Breton.
Mr. Crewe explained, “Ms. Brown came with the statistics to show that the skill set of the registered nurse in the Hermitage Clinic wasn’t always the best use of resources – in other words Tammy Hollett often did clerical duties (taking appointments, filing, etc.).
“She said that they would talk to the Dr. Sohi about his assuming some of the duties Tammy had performed like EKGs and blood pressure. She (Ms. Brown) also said Dr. Sohi understands the reasons why the registered nurse position was being moved, leaving his clinic with a fulltime clerical position only.”
In their presentation to the three representatives of Central Health, the council was prepared with signed petitions from each of the four communities affected by this change – McCallum, Gaultois, Seal Cove, and Hermitage-Sandyville.
Mayor Crewe went through his arguments one by one, sometimes with a question from Deputy Mayor June Nash.
“We told Central Health that this was a bad decision. We pointed out this was a negative side to the opening of a dialysis unit in Harbour Breton. We were losing our nurse who, over the 14 years, had worked closely with the doctor and had established a good relationship with the people of the four towns and had come to know a lot of their medical history and could look after some of their needs, especially when the doctor was holding clinic in the isolated towns or when he was away for other reasons.
“Central Health’s position, though, is we don’t need a nurse in a medical clinic open for eight hours a day and the stats show there is not a great need for a RN position in Hermitage. We told Central Health they have not heard the last from us on this issue.
“I told them that we don’t want to lose her, and June told them they were taking away an essential service.”
Once Dr. Sohi announces his plans to retire, Central Health promises to begin recruitment for another doctor; if that fails, they will consider a fulltime Nurse Practitioner with a clerical position for the Hermitage Clinic.
Meanwhile, the group of 30 protestors outside got a promise from Heather Brown she would return and meet with them at a public meeting.
One in the group was Melita Goods who, with her diabetic husband, was a frequent visitor at the Hermitage Clinic.
“Tammy was like a guardian angel to us. We went to the clinic and she was always so good to us and looked after many of our needs. A wrong and terrible decision has been made here.”
The protestors went home feeling the authorities had failed them in a major way, realizing erosion in their health care delivery had begun and they would travel to Harbour Breton more frequently in the future.
Harbour Breton Coaster