HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative MLA for Northside-Westmount Eddie Orrell is relieved that emergency room doctors at the Northside General Hospital will not have their pay cut back by $14 an hour.
In Question Period yesterday, Orrell challenged the McNeil Liberals about the wrongheadedness of cutting doctors’ pay in Cape Breton emergency rooms. Minister Glavine committed publicly that there would be no pay cut after all.
“I heard from many doctors who were concerned about the pay cut and the implications it would have on health care services, not only in Northside-Westmount, but also in Sydney and the rest of Cape Breton,” says Orrell. “If it wasn’t for those brave doctors who spoke up on this issue, the pay cut would’ve gone ahead. This is positive news for the community and region.”
Orrell says what concerns him the most is that Health Minister Leo Glavine told media a “misunderstanding” about the amount of money available to continue paying Northside ER doctors at the rate they’ve been working all along was to blame for the initially proposed pay cut.
“While I am happy for the doctors, I am troubled that this “misunderstanding” happened in the first place,” says Orrell. “These ER doctors were left worrying and speculating about their pay cut for over a month. There is a problem with communication, and health care workers deserve better than that.”
Orrell also had concerns about the future of the Northside General ER. During Question Period, the Health Minister said he had no plans to close that ER, despite rumours circulating from residents who felt a closure was imminent.
“I’m pleased Minister Glavine has committed to keeping the ER open and I’m going to hold him to that,” says Orrell. “We need to make sure the Health Minister is being held accountable for what’s happening in our health care system. Whether it’s doctor pay cuts, ER overcrowding or a lack of specialists, Minister Glavine must start taking responsibility for the state of health care in this province.”
The Cape Breton Medical Staff Association will be holding a public meeting on May 7th from 1:00-2:30 p.m. to bring attention to how the severe shortage of specialists and physicians is endangering the health of Cape Bretoners, and Orrell encourages everyone to attend.