SHERBROOKE, NS – Progressive Conservative candidate for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie, Rob Wolf, says MLA Lloyd Hines needs to provide clarity on whether the McNeil Liberals plan to shut down the Emergency Health Services depot in Sherbrooke and move it to Melrose.
“There are many unanswered questions these days regarding the provision of ambulance services and coverage in the area,” says Wolf. “People are affected by these decisions, and they deserve answers.”
Wolf is questioning the wisdom of the rumoured move. He says abandoning the Sherbrooke depot for a new location in Melrose puts ambulances farther away from the major population base and puts sick residents at greater risk.
“Melrose is 16 kilometres away from the nearest hospital, nursing home, school, major tourist attraction and most local employers,” says Wolf. “As well, it’s on the other side of Cochrane Hill. I’ve travelled that stretch of Highway 7 for the past 27 years and in bad weather, it can be very steep and slippery. This only adds to the increased risk for residents and workers.”
The latest available EHS Annual report (2011) says 86.4 per cent of response times in Nova Scotia take less than 16 minutes.
“Given that the drive from Melrose to Sherbrooke is 16 minutes or longer, and the next closest EHS station is well down the Eastern Shore, our ambulance services and response times would end up in the 14 per cent range. It is quite possible we would have some of the lowest overall response times in the province. “
Wolf says EHS maintains its service delivery is not “static” and ambulances are dispatched from different stations, but the community’s concerns are mounting.
“Before any final decision is made, Lloyd Hines must address the questions and concerns of residents, because they are the ones who will be put at greater risk if this depot is closed down,” says Wolf.