Shelburne's mayor tears into health authority for ER closure
The mayor of Shelburne is blasting the Nova Scotia Health Authority after learning that the town's emergency room will be closed for several days over the next week.
She calls it unacceptable -- and so do residents in the area.
Some residents of Shelburne and the surrounding area were on edge again Wednesday night. Their emergency room is closed until Thursday morning. The mayor says she just learned of the closure Tuesday night.
“I received an email listing the closures and it is extensive this time,” said Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall. “Between today and (next) Tuesday, our ER will be closed 104 hours.”
The reason: physician unavailability.
Clearly it’s not the first time, but she does believe the closures are becoming more common.
"It shouldn’t be happening,” Mattatall said. “We have the right to access health care. Every Canadian is guaranteed that in the Canada Health Act. But the biggest issue, because we do have to deal with it, is our geography.”
Liverpool is about 45 minutes away. Yarmouth is over an hour. That concerns resident Anne MacNeil.
“I'm very concerned about people that require treatment within the golden hour as they say,” MacNeil said.
She has a notice she carries with her that says any point her medical condition may require immediate attention.
“What in heavens name do you do?” MacNeil said. “I am royally peeved off. This is ridiculous. It should not happen in this day and age. And more people, the ordinary Joes of Nova Scotia should speak up.”
Retired nurse Vivian Williams says she’s concerned about seniors.
“Especially in this heat,” Williams said. “What do they do with heat stroke?”
Williams doesn’t blame those on the frontline for the closures. But she feels the system is to blame
“Everybody says ‘oh well, the ER’s closed again’ and I don't think they’ve had a real emergency to realize just how fatal it could be.”
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says while certain ERs are closed from “time to time” the “overall emergency system is never closed.”
Shelburne’s mayor says that doesn’t make it okay.
“The last time things really worked well was when the decision making was local. So we certainly have found that this massive bureaucracy -- the NSHA -- does not seem to be serving the needs of the people,” Mattatall said. “We hear lots of things from them about why things aren't working. Um. They're not working. And they need to be fixed.”
She calls the closure unacceptable and leaves the Shelburne County area -- about 15,000 people -- vulnerable, for at least 104 hours over the next several days.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.