Official opposition MLAs say the health crisis in Cape Breton will only get worse if the McNeil Liberals don’t provide the details surrounding their hospital closure plan.
This week the government announced they were shutting down Northside General Hospital and New Waterford Consolidated Hospital. Premier McNeil provided very few details about the closures and that has Northside Westmount MLA Eddie Orrell demanding answers.
“Families in Cape Breton deserve a health care system they can trust to be there when they need it,” says Orrell. “Instead we’re left wondering what’s happening and when. The Liberals must tell all those hospital workers their plan.”
The MLAs say staying mum on the details will have devastating impacts on the island’s ability to provide health care.
Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg MLA Alfie MacLeod worries that the lack of details will impact recruitment efforts. The NSHA website is peppered with job openings for Cape Breton. The island needs everything from Family Doctors to Radiologists, Paediatricians to Geriatricians.
“Cape Breton Island desperately needs doctors and specialists but who’s going to come here when they don’t even know what they’re walking into?” asks MacLeod. “We don’t even know what’s going to happen to our existing health care providers with these closures, let alone attracting new people. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we are at a crisis point.”
During the government announcement, Premier McNeil said “this is not about job loss,” but that’s not sitting right with Keith Bain, MLA for Victoria-The Lakes.
“The Liberals haven’t explained what will happen to the support staff at Northside General or New Waterford Consolidated Hospital,” says Bain. “The Premier may say this isn’t about job loss, but I’m worried what the future looks like for those on the janitorial team or in food services, for example. Cape Breton can’t afford to lose any more jobs or live with any more uncertainty.”
The opposition MLAs say now is the time for transparency and are calling on the McNeil Liberals to provide the full timeline of the hospital shutdown immediately.
“The least the Premier can do is to come clean about how and when he plans to board up these hospitals,” says Orrell. “He owes us the truth.”