18 Apr Media Release: North Shore committee still waiting for response to petition

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Committee waits for response to letter and petition

Tatamagouche, NS – The members of the North Shore Citizens’ Health Committee were very surprised and disappointed to learn that a local area doctor was working in the ER at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow at a time when the ER in Tatamagouche was closed.

“Are doctors being unfairly compensated when they work in Tatamagouche and therefore being paid more to work outside their own district?” asked Judy Davis, media spokesperson for the committee. “Our communities feel uneasy and nervous about the unavailability of emergency services. The provincial government needs to ensure the ER closures cease and the doctors are compensated fairly.”

Seniors suffer disproportionately when the ER is closed.

“There is a large senior population here on the North Shore and statistics from the DHA have shown that these people are suffering higher levels of anxiety than in other areas of Colchester County, and we feel the constant ER closures contribute to this anxiety,” says Davis.  “Not only is the emergency department closed but we also risk longer wait times if the nearest ambulance is already out on a call and an ambulance from another area must be sent in. Why is the government not taking responsibility to fix the ER closures in Tatamagouche?”

The committee has asked the Colchester East Hants Health Authority to hire Nurse Practitioners to operate a walk in clinic in Tatamagouche to serve the community in addition to the ER. A petition with over 900 signatures supporting this request was presented to the Authority on April 1, 2008. The committee is still waiting for a response to the letter and petition from the DHA.

“The situation is becoming desperate.  The government needs to ensure there are enough doctors to operate the ER and that they are fairly compensated,” says Davis.  “Our community should not be used as pawns.  We fear that someone is really going to be hurt by this situation, if it hasn’t already happened.”

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For more information please contact:

Judy Davis
Media Spokesperson
North Shore Citizens’ Health Committee
(902) 657-3371

Kyle Buott
Provincial Coordinator
Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network
(902) 406-9422

About the North Shore Citizens’ Health Committee:

The North Shore Citizens’ Health Committee was formed to find public sector solutions to the problems in the health care system. The group has set as two of its goals for this year, to end ER closures at Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital and to bring a Nurse Practitioner to the Tatamagouche community.  The Committee also strives to put an end to the privatization of our public health care system.  The Committee is part of the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network

About the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network:

Formed in 1996, the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network’s goal is to stop the privatization of the public health care system, ensure high levels of care, and create a forum for people and communities to discuss issues in health care.

The Network is a coalition of local health committees, community groups, organized labour, faith groups and individuals dedicated to protecting and advancing public health care to include services like pharmacare, dental care and long-term and home care.

The Network is political but non-partisan and receives no government funding.