Health authority needs to be open, transparent about future of health care

Published on October 7, 2016

To the Editor,

As the past chair of The Cumberland Health Authority I had many occasions to discuss health care issues with Dr. Brian Ferguson. While we did not always agree on these issues the sincerity he brought to the table was beyond reproach and always, always had the short and long term interests of his patients and the community as a focal point.

Recently, Dr. Ferguson published his concerns of the potential closure of the ER at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.

His comments were immediately repudiated by Janet Knox, the Pres. and CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority. She wrote it “does not serve the citizens well to report inaccurate information about their health care services.”

The word “information” is the key point. I sense Dr. Fergusons concern is just the tip of the iceberg. There is NO information. It is my understanding the Health Authority is conducting broad range clinical and operational reviews. It is also my understanding the Health Authority has a mandate to be consultative and transparent. To this end we have seen very little. “Information” has been formally requested through the Health Authority and has gone unanswered or delayed. What are the secrets? What are the plans for Cumberland County and other parts of Nova Scotia? I applaud Dr. Ferguson for running up a “red flag” and starting the conversation.

There are numerous “worries” for the people of Cumberland County to say nothing of the concerns of the medical and support staff who work in our facilities. I’m sure this is a provincewide issue.

To this end, I will be writing Mrs. Knox requesting an early meeting in an effort to gain information as it relates to the future health care plans for this community. Hopefully, this will be the start of consultation and transparency.

Bruce R. Saunders

Past Chair

The Cumberland Health Authority