NORTH SYDNEY, NS –Northside-Westmount Progressive Conservative MLA Eddie Orrell says he’s concerned about the difficulties his constituents could face if the McNeil government goes ahead with plans to cut the pay of emergency department doctors at Northside General Hospital.
ER doctors at the hospital are facing a possible pay cut of $14 per hour, or about $140 less a day. Orrell says for a province trying to recruit doctors, this is a shortsighted move.
“The McNeil government says it’s trying to recruit doctors to work in rural communities where thousands are without a family physician,” says Orrell. “But then, it turns around and carelessly plans to cut back the pay of overworked emergency room doctors. This will only hurt the health care situation in Cape Breton and across the province.”
One of Orrell’s biggest concerns is that the pay cut will push Northside ER doctors to leave and work for Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, where they are paid $40 more per hour. This could result in more temporary ER closures at Northside. Furthermore, the closures would add stress on walk-in clinics, family doctors, as well as, drive more patients to the Sydney emergency department.
“There are 90,000 Nova Scotians without a family doctor, who rely on walk-ins or emergency department for their health care,” says Orrell. “Where will those people turn if we start losing ER doctors as a result of these pay cuts?”
With the Northside pain clinic in need of more supports, and still no word on a collaborative care clinic for Sydney, Orrell says there is a health care crisis in Cape Breton that is getting worse under Stephen McNeil’s watch. He is calling on McNeil to stop neglecting the health care needs of Cape Bretoners and protect the pay of ER doctors in rural Nova Scotia.