Nurses union prez says government didn't consult nurses about hospital closures
The woman who heads up Nova Scotia's Nurses Union says she was left in the dark when the government announced its decision to close two Cape Breton hospitals.
“We were surprised and a bit shocked that the hospitals were closing,” said Janet Hazelton.
She’s concerned about the lack of consultation and the uncertainty over what lies ahead.
With the premier booed at the announcement Monday and a protest Wednesday, it’s been a rocky start to the province's plans to improve health care access in Cape Breton.
“I suspect the government was suspecting a lot of opposition to it and rightly so,” said Dr. Craig Stone, an anesthesiologist at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
The announcement was rushed, he says, and that caused a lot of unnecessary confusion and worry over jobs.
“Is this a further reduction of services?” he said. “Is this the plan to reduce services? These are the questions people are asking and nobody knows the answer.”
Premier Stephen McNeil has said his plan is about building and enhancing services by building new, modern facilities.
Hazelton is planning a trip to Cape Breton to meet with nurses worried about their jobs.
“Although their jobs may change, their location may change, we expect this government and the health authority to honour what they told us,” she said. “And that's there would be no job loss for nurses in this.”
A key part of the hospital closures plan is a new paramedic service that will make house calls for non-urgent care and patients that have been discharged.
Hazleton says that service is already offered through the VON.
“I want clarification,” she said. “What is it exactly that the plan is, because it says they're going to do discharge visits in the home. What does that mean? We have VON nurses that do homecare in Cape Breton. We have a significant number of nurses that do that now.”
Hazelton says she has sent a letter to the premier hoping for answers to a plan that's been received with mixed emotions.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.