Doors still open for long-term beds in county, says Hafey

Brad Works
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AMHERST - If or when new long-term care beds ever come to rural Cumberland County is as unclear today as it was a month ago.
"We're going to regroup and figure it out," said health department spokeswoman Pamela Hafey, in answering why the province received no bids on contracts to add promised beds in Advocate Harbour, Parrsboro, River Hebert and along the North Shore - communities deemed in urgent need of them in a report earlier this year.
The four regions were among nine snubbed by bidders following the province's announcement last week that it had awarded contracts to build and operate 552 of the promised 832 long-term beds. The lone contract awarded in Cumberland County went to Shannex, which will build 36 nursing home beds in Amherst.
Hafey said she did not believe the rural communities would lose the beds just because no one came forward this time around.
"It's an exhaustive process that is still not complete," she said. "We're not going to say you didn't bid you missed your chance. No doors have been slammed shut here."
The rural beds were designated residential care, a lower level of care than nursing beds.
"There didn't seem to be anything that applied to us because we weren't building a new facility or adding on," said Shirley Morris, manager of Chignecto Manor, a co-operative that runs a residential care facility in one of the communities.
Morris said the Advocate area facility is licensed for 15 beds but could handle 18 residents if needed.
NDP health critic Dave Wilson said the communities that didn't receive any interest prove the government is using a flawed process.
"To say they are going to look in to it now that the communities have been left out shows a complete lack of leadership," Wilson said.
"Why don't they just build them and get the district health authorities to run them?" he asked.
Nova Scotia's health minister, Chris d'Entremont, said the government may amalgamate or reclassify some of the proposals to attract more interest. The minister also said changing the location is an option.

bworks@amherstdaily.com

Geographic location: AMHERST, Cumberland County, Advocate Harbour River Hebert North Shore Nova Scotia

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