Progressive Conservative MLA for Pictou West, Karla MacFarlane is overwhelmed by the recent stories she is hearing from constituents who have been impacted by the closure of the Mental Health unit at the Aberdeen Hospital.
Sixteen days ago, the Aberdeen Hospital Mental Health Unit closed its doors, forcing patients to travel to other hospitals for their mental health needs.
“I am disappointed by the Liberal government and their lack of empathy and leadership with this matter,” said MacFarlane. “Mentally ill Nova Scotians are being forced to travel long distances and are now being told that nearby facilities are too full to accommodate them.”
Bobby Brooks, a former patient of the mental health unit at the Aberdeen has struggled with mental illnesses for several years. On Monday, August 17th, Mr. Brooks’ wife took him to the Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro. The next morning, he was told he would have to be transferred to the Yarmouth Regional Hospital because of a shortage of beds. That did not sit right with his daughter Amanda Brooks, who has been trying to get answers from the Liberal Health Minister. Mr. Brooks and his family made the decision to take him home instead of going to Yarmouth.
“Yarmouth is a four and a half hour drive from our home,” said Brooks’ daughter. “My father, who is already struggling, is now being told he has to be even further from his family and support system in order to get better.”
“There have been many ups and downs, but with the assistance of the Aberdeen staff and my family beside me, I am here today,” said Mr. Brooks. “I’d rather take the risk and go home than force my family to travel such a long distance. I know it has been hard on them, but a large part of my success is due to their continuous support. Being in Yarmouth I won’t have that.”
MacFarlane says our mental health system is in crisis and it is time for the Minister to act.
“The issues surrounding our health care system are not just going to disappear,” said MacFarlane. “Real people are being impacted by this closure. It’s time we saw some action before more people are negatively impacted by this mess.”
PC leader Jamie Baillie has been calling for a public inquiry into the mental health system that would provide government with key recommendations and actions.