Health care strike could send patients to Moncton

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - A strike by health-care workers in Cumberland County could make for busier times across the border in Moncton.

Cumberland Health Authority spokesperson Ann Keddy said Monday her organization has been in touch with their counterparts in southeastern New Brunswick to ask for help if the need arises.

"We have had discussions with them and as best they can they'll support us in providing service to our patients," Keddy said. "The thing is they are pretty busy right now themselves."

More than 3,000 hospital supporter workers across Nova Scotia could hit the picket line next Monday if their demands for wage parity with Halifax are not met. In Cumberland, that represents close to 400 employees represented by CUPE including X-ray, laboratory, clerical and housekeeping staff.

The Cumberland Health Authority already has a long-standing working relationship with health-care facilities in southeastern New Brunswick. A large number of patients are regularly referred to the Moncton City Hospital and George Dumont Hospital as well as to Sackville Memorial Hospital.

"We already use Moncton quite a bit and a lot of our referrals already go in that direction," said Keddy. "In this case, we are going to look after true emergencies, but if there's anything else that's non-emergent and they can handle it we'll send it to them."

Just how many patients are referred to New Brunswick could also be impacted by the length of a strike, said Keddy.

As part of their strike preparations, the health authority will be sending a letter out to all households in the county letting residents know just what services will be available during a strike.

Keddy said the only emergency department available in the county during a strike will be at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre while labour and delivery and emergency surgeries will continue. All other services will be disrupted by the strike.

She expects more people from this side of the border will also visit the emergency department in Sackville in the event of a strike.

The health authority, she said, remains hopeful a negotiated settlement will be reached with its unionized workforce.

Organizations: Cumberland Health Authority, Moncton City Hospital, George Dumont Hospital Sackville Memorial Hospital Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre

Geographic location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Cumberland County AMHERST Nova Scotia Sackville

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Recent comments

  • juanita
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Many people already go to these hospitals because they receive better services from the emergencies departments!

  • Whatever
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Cory Crossborder your comments are ridiculous...lets blame everything on smoking, odviously the article was about going across the border for medical help, and since when did children under the age of 6 start smoking? And who cares if people are buying milk, smokes and gas acrossthe border if they are already there they midas well save some money.

  • Natasha
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I don't smoke, but because of the ridiculous wait times in Amherst, I like many, will be taking my child to the Sackville or even Moncton hospital if it gets her seen quicker. 6 hrs @ emergency, and not being able to see a dr.. but yet those who come in with a sore finger get in within 2 hrs.

  • Cory
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Yes, Juanita, and I'd be willing to bet those same people sitting in the NB waiting rooms are also buying their cigarettes, gas, and milk while they're over there. Of course, if they'd ease up on the smokes, they might not need to be in an emergency room on either side of the border in the first place...

  • Paige
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    After my problem this summer at the moncton ER, Amherst wait times are NOTHING compared to what I had to deal with. My little guy spilt his head open while we were camping up there. We got there at 7 pm at 2am he had long fell asleep and we were told that they wouldn't wake him up so we went back the next morning as we were walking in people that had come in just after us were just leaving!!
    That did it for me we drove back to amherst waited about 15 mintues got in got him fixed up.
    Sackville sure but no way in h#(& will I go back up there.