Cape Breton community group plans protest to keep up pressure for solution to health-care crisis
Rebecca Strickland says she remembers when ER closures used to be a rarity around here.
The retired paramedic of 23 years is worried it's now starting to become the norm.
“I feel scared, and I think everybody should be,” Strickland said. “I myself have a son who has multiple needs, including cardiac issues, and it scares me to think the only hospital available is the Cape Breton Regional.”
Strickland is part of a community group called Capers For Healthcare that is planning a protest against the closures and to mark the one-year anniversary since the Liberal government announced the closure of two hospitals on the island.
“Over the past year, they've really done nothing but make the system worse,” Strickland said. “We have more hospital closures than ever.”
In fact, this weekend the only hospital offering emergency services in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is the Cape Breton Regional.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says it's because of the lack of available physicians to cover shifts.
“As I understand, they are in the process of looking at the needs for reassignment and what they may anticipate,” said NSHA spokesman Greg Boone. “There will be nurses from Glace Bay reassigned to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.”
Along with the New Waterford and North Sydney facilities, the hospital in Glace Bay is also closed for nearly the entire month of June. It's a hospital that's part of the Liberal government's plan to expand.
“For us, when you expand the physical footprint, you have to have the docs and professionals to fill it and that's part and parcel of the new plan,” said Geoff MacLellan, the Liberal MLA who represents the riding of Glace Bay.
MacLellan says he understands that wage parity is a big problem among doctors here.
“It's about having a package that's equitable, so that when a new doc is making a decision that Glace Bay is as viable an option as is Sydney and other places across the island and the province,” MacLellan said.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.