The three Progressive Conservative MLAs are calling on the McNeil Government to come forward with a clear plan for healthcare services in Pictou County. Last week, it was announced that the Aberdeen Walk-in Clinic would be closing for six weeks this summer while the clinic determines its future.
“This clinic is seeing more than 10,000 visits per year. That’s 10,000 cases in Pictou County that will flood the Aberdeen Emergency Room,” says Pictou East MLA Tim Houston. “It’s added pressure to a hospital that has already seen significant service cuts.”
The clinic has become an important part of the area’s healthcare services.
“I hear from many people who have come to rely on the walk-in clinic for help,” says Barb Young, who runs a nearby salon. “There are so many people without a family doctor. They go to the clinic for prescriptions and so much more, now they don’t know where to turn. They’re afraid, we’re all afraid.”
Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn say frustration in the county is mounting.
“Quite simply, our healthcare needs are not being met in Pictou County,” adds Dunn. “We need a system we can count on, not one that is in constant crisis and chaos.”
The Aberdeen has more than 40,000 ER visits a year. The MLAs say many of those could be handled in a clinic setting, but rather than moving clinic patients out of the ER, Stephen McNeil is forcing clinic patients back in.
Karla MacFarlane, MLA for Pictou West, says Pictou County residents need a plan to ensure people are getting the care they need and deserve in an appropriate setting.
“Pictou County families need a clear plan for healthcare delivery right in their own community,” says MacFarlane. “Growing wait lists, lack of family doctors and emergency room backlogs are just symptoms of the bigger problem. The Liberals have lost control of our healthcare system.”
Houston and Dunn agree.
“Understanding the needs and managing them are key,” says Houston. “That just doesn’t exist in the system we have now. The government is bailing out the bow of the boat by dumping the water into the stern.”
In the meantime, Barb Young remains worried.
“I don’t know what to do”, she said, “Hopefully the clinic will open again in September, but there’s no guarantee.”
The three MLAs add they are proud to join the community on Monday, August 6th at 4pm for a healthcare protest. MacFarlane, Houston and Dunn will join concerned community members in the protest, marching from the walk-in clinic in New Glasgow to the emergency department at the hospital.