Baillie: Time for McNeil to answer for Cape Breton health crisis

May 14, 2017 at 10:49 am

The health care system in Cape Breton is in crisis and Stephen McNeil must answer for it, Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie said today.

The statistics speak for themselves:

  • More than 10,000 Cape Bretoners don’t have a family doctor;

  • Last week, a respected vascular surgeon said unnecessary amputations were being performed on the Island because of a lack of specialists;

  • Emergency rooms at three Cape Breton hospitals were closed over this weekend;

  • Cape Bretoners wait 354 days for mental health services;

  • Glace Bay residents in need of cataract surgery wait 319 days for a consultation and a further 232 days for the procedure, for a total wait time over one-and-a-half years; and

  • Another specialist, ophthalmologist Dr. Al Karmi, is leaving Cape Breton at the end of May.

“Cape Bretoners are sick and tired of gathering in gyms and community centres to get the attention of the McNeil Liberals,” Baillie said. “This system is broken and the people of Cape Breton deserve better than the inaction of the Liberals.”

Baillie invited McNeil to debate health care in Cape Breton last week. McNeil did not have the courage to accept the invitation and explain his broken promises to the people of Cape Breton.

A Progressive Conservative government will take concrete action to ease the doctor shortage and improve the mental health system:

  • Invest $13.5 million to bring more doctors to underserviced areas;

  • Double the tuition relief program to $6 million to keep new family doctors in Nova Scotia;

  • Credential recognition for Canadians who study medicine abroad;

  • Invest $39.7 million in the mental health system;

  • Establishing Mental Health Crisis Response Centres to divert people undergoing a mental health crisis from Emergency Rooms to a facility, staffed by trained mental health professionals, to receive appropriate and informed treatment;

  • Creating a $250 direct tax rebate for Nova Scotians who, through a medical diagnosis and treatment plan, rely on a psychiatric service dog;

  • Providing all students with access to in-school mental health services;

  • Expanding mental health courts across the province; and

  • Making Nova Scotia a leader in mental health research and innovation. We will create a Mental Health and Wellness Institute in concert with a Nova Scotia university and attract mental health experts.

The people of Cape Breton deserve a health care system close to home that responds to their needs,” Baillie concluded. “The indifference of McNeil Liberals over the last four years proves that the health care needs of Cape Bretoners weren’t their priority.”