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N.B. residents want greater say in health-care reforms
SACKVILLE, N.B. -- Concern over New Brunswick's recent proposed health-care cuts continues to grow in the six affected communities.
While the government has put the proposed health-care reforms on pause, it hasn't lessened the concern for the six rural communities affected.
Hundreds gathered in Sackville, N.B., Wednesday night for a community meeting.
"People wanted to see movement and people wanted to see visible movement," said Sackville resident Kellie Mattatall. "We don't want to come off of the rallies that happened and having those changes put on hold, and lose our momentum."
If the cuts go forward, it would mean the Sackville Memorial Hospital would see its ER close overnight -- something that hasn't gone over well with many.
"We heard from the premier, from the minister of health, and from the CEOs of both health authorities that people couldn't understand these issues, that people were being too emotional, and frankly the way this was presented was very insulting and unfair," said Green Party MLA Megan Mitton.
Sackville Mayor John Higham says concern is growing across the province.
"There's a lot of people that think we haven't thought this through," he said.
There will now be an interim committee composed of residents, medical professionals, politicians and other concerned individuals.
Already the vice-chair of the Vitalité Health Network's board has resigned over a lack of consultation in the health plan.
And on Thursday, the mayors of Sussex, Norton, and Sussex Corner wrote a letter to the premier asking him to choose new leaders in the Department of Health and regional health authorities.
"None of the people that are working on the frontline are speaking," said Sackville resident Mary Ellen Nurse. "They essentially have a gag order by virtue of the confidentiality agreements they signed, and I think that anything (Premier Blaine) Higgs can do to repair anything, he has to focus on speaking to those frontline people."
The idea now is for the interim committee to act quickly and find long-term solutions.
Sackville will be presenting their petition to these proposed changes to the legislature next month.