Collaborative emergency centre focus of public meeting

Andrew Wagstaff
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Cumberland Health Authority asks community to give new system a chance

Cumberland Health Authority chairman Bruce Saunders (left) and CEO Bruce Quigley address the crowd gathered at the Parrsboro Fire Hall for the authority's semi-annual public meeting on June 14. Andrew Wagstaff - The Citizen-Record

PARRSBORO - On the eve of moving to a new collaborative emergency system here, the Cumberland Health Authority faced an uneasy public during its semi-annual public meeting here on June 14.

Authority CEO Bruce Quigley and chairman Bruce Saunders asked those gathered at the Parrsboro Fire Hall to give the new system a chance to succeed, while admitting there will be bumps in the road once it is launched next month.

"This is going to be a challenge for us," said Saunders. "We think Parrsboro is best suited to take this challenge on, but it is going to be a challenge."

As part of the province's  Better Care Sooner plan, Parrsboro will become the first health facility in the province - in fact, the first in Canada - to move to a collaborative emergency centre. While primary care will be offered by a team of doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners 12 hours per day, seven days a week, after hours calls will be handled by an advanced care paramedic, nurses and a physician on the telephone.

Questions from the public focused mainly on the level of care that will be available under the new system, including a lively exchange between Quigley and local nurse Cathy Smith, in which she questioned why paramedics are taking over roles that can be handled capably by nurses.

"No solution is perfect but I think this is, knowing what we know and knowing the resources we have both human and financial, this is a good plan," said Quigley.

Parrsboro's collaborative care centre is expected to go into operation by the third week of July, with Springhill and Pugwash to follow suit in the months ahead.

(For the full story, see the June 23 issue of The Citizen-Record)

Organizations: Cumberland Health Authority, The Citizen-Record

Geographic location: PARRSBORO, Canada, Pugwash

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