CB MLAs concerned over reports Northside General ER closing permanently in May

April 03, 2018 at 3:25 pm

Liberal Health Minister refused to provide assurance it will remain open

Cape Breton MLAs Eddie Orrell, Keith Bain and Alfie MacLeod are concerned that moves by the Liberal government are forcing the permanent closure of Northside General emergency room.

Worry was circulating over the weekend that the Northside emergency room would be closed permanently in May and the Glace Bay emergency room would be closed in the night starting this spring.

“We need answers from the Liberal government about the future of our local emergency rooms,” says Orrell, the MLA for Northside-Westmount. “People are very concerned about losing their ER for good and what that means for services in our community.”

Orrell pressed the Liberal Minister of Health, Randy Delorey, for answers in Question Period today. The Minister refused to say whether the emergency room would be closed permanently.

ER Doctors at Northside and Glace Bay are paid less than those at the regional hospital and recent changes by the Liberal government to the pay for locum doctors means that locums no longer want to come because they would be out of pocket.

Bain says these changes combined with the worsening doctor shortage in Cape Breton are forcing the ER’s to close.

“The decisions made by the Liberal government created the conditions that are forcing the closure of Northside ER,” says Bain, the MLA for Victoria-The Lakes. “The trickledown effect could have devastating impacts on people in our area. The loss of services is putting people at risk.”

The Northside General has more than 10,300 emergency room visits per year.

MacLeod is concerned about the impacts a closure may have on other, already strained local hospitals.

“The Regional and Baddeck hospitals are not equipped to handle the influx of patients from the Northside area,” says MacLeod, the MLA for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg. “The Cape Breton healthcare system is already in crisis. The Liberal government is making it worse.”