Progressive Conservative MLA Alfie MacLeod is wondering what planet Health Minister Randy Delorey lives on, after the Minister said in a recent interview that it’s a “positive step forward” that Cape Breton youth in crisis could have to travel to Halifax for psychiatry services in the new year.
“In what world is it a ‘positive step forward’ that Cape Breton youth and their families must find a way to Halifax, and a place to stay there, to get psychiatry services? How can it be a ‘positive step forward’ that we can’t treat our youth in their own community?” asks MacLeod. “The Minister needs to cut out the insulting political spin and get resources to Cape Breton, now.”
The head of psychiatry at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital has recommended changes with patient care that would see youth in need of psychiatry support be sent to Halifax. The recommendation was made because the Cape Breton psychiatry department is severely under resourced.
In his response to the situation, Minister Delorey referenced several initiatives to address the psychiatrist shortage, but MacLeod says without providing any timelines to show resources are being added now, those initiatives are nothing but empty words.
“We know that children and adolescents in crisis aren’t getting the help they truly need, because the resources just aren’t there. They can’t wait weeks or months for new initiatives to get started. They need help today,” says MacLeod. “The Health Minister must put forward solutions that will start working for our youth right away.”
The Nova Scotia Health Authority said it wouldn’t implement the recommendations until at least January 1st, but MacLeod is calling for the Minister to step in before then.
“There is nothing positive about having our young people travel for hours to Halifax to get the help they desperately need. That should be the very last resort and the Health Minister must do everything in his power to make sure it doesn’t get to that point,” says MacLeod.