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Municipal leaders to talk to Glavine about regional hospital

Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in Upper Nappan, N.S.
Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in Upper Nappan, N.S.

AMHERST, N.S. – Municipal officials hope to get some reassurance from Health Minister Leo Glavine early Wednesday regarding the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.

Cumberland North MLA Terry Farrell has helped set up a meeting between the minister and municipal representatives who are in Halifax for the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities fall conference.

Cumberland North MLA Terry Farrell has helped set up a meeting between the minister and municipal representatives who are in Halifax for the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities fall conference.

“We have to do something to assure the community and let them know that rumours that are around are just rumours,” Farrell told Cumberlandnewsnow.com on Tuesday. “They are not based on any facts and are being spread for what I would call partisan reasons.”

Farrell said he met with Nova Scotia Health Authority CEO Janet Knox and vice-president Lindsay Peach last Friday in Halifax and was given assurances there are no plans to downgrade the regional hospital.

“I got the same assurances from there that there are no plans to reduce the level of services at the regional hospital, whether it’s the emergency room or the surgeries at the hospital,” Farrell said.

In September, Dr. Brian Ferguson sounded the alarm about the hospital’s future. He said he’s concerned the Nova Scotia Health Authority wants to centralize services in Halifax and pointed out the regional hospital in Upper Nappan needs to have 24/7 emergency coverage and specialty practices to maintain its status as a regional centre.

Cumberland South MLA and PC leader Jamie Baillie, who is also concerned with frequent ER closures at the All Saints Collaborative Emergency Centre in Springhill, wants the minister to reveal his plan for health care. He said it’s hard to recruit physicians and specialists as long as there’s uncertainty over the regional hospital.

The past few years have seen some lab services moved out of the regional hospital to other locations, while the business office at the regional hospital was recently moved to the hospital in Truro.

Farrell said the health-care system in Nova Scotia is going through a big transformation and it’s going to look different when it’s complete. That doesn’t mean there are plans to remove regional status from the hospital in Upper Nappan.

“We’re set to be a big part of that and we’re going to continue to be a big part of that,” Farrell said. “Dr. Tim Wallace (in Amherst) is a big part of that as head of surgery for the northern regional and as part of the team that’s planning how surgical services are going to work around the province. We have a surgeon here who is a big part of the decisions that are taking place, it’s not a bunch of people in Halifax moving pieces around the chessboard.”

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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