Premier Higgs reassures six communities their ERs will not close
HALIFAX -- The premier of New Brunswick confirmed that emergency rooms will not be closed overnight for six rural communities.
This announcement comes after a controversial plan was announced in February by the Higgs government about a health care reform plan.
The plan was cancelled just days later, and this week, Premier Blaine Higgs made it clear the closures will not be following through.
"I've said it a number of times. We're not going to be dealing with closing ER's. We're not going to be doing that so, no one in those communities has to worry," said Higgs.
Those planned health care reforms saw the minority PC government lose its deputy premier, Robert Gauvin, who resigned in protest.
The PC MLA for Sussex-Fundy- St. Martins, Bruce Northrup, announced that he would not be supporting the move either.
A decision he says he stands by today.
"I said that since day one and I'll say it as long as I'm MLA. That the Sussex Health Centre and the Lab Work and the ER will not close under my watch," said Northrup.
The premier also stated this week that he still plans to meet with the six communities whose ER's were originally slated for overnight closure.
Those New Brunswick communities include Perth-Andover, Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, Caraquet, Grand Falls, Sackville, and Sussex.
Higgs says he has yet to visit the communities because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"We'll discuss opportunities to improve our health care system but we'll do it together," explained Higgs.
The mayor of Sussex, Marc Thorne says, to simply stop the process isn't enough.
"New Brunswickers are very much aware that the same players sit at the table as were there before," said Thorne.
"There's been virtually no change to the people who are making decisions in regards to health care for New Brunswickers. I find that alarming."
Deputy Mayor of Sackville, Ron Aiken, agrees that the fight isn't over.
"We're very pleased they put the emergency room closures, they've taken those off the table, but for Sackville, there was still two other things," said Aiken. "The acute care beds and the day surgery, they apparently hadn't been cancelled yet, put it that way."