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Kogon says Amherst and its municipal partners are fighting for regional hospital

Amherst Mayor David Kogon speaks during an Amherst Chamber of Commerce event on Thursday night.
Amherst Mayor David Kogon speaks during an Amherst Chamber of Commerce event on Thursday night. - Darrell Cole

In response to criticism from Dr. Brian Ferguson

AMHERST, N.S. – Amherst’s mayor agrees with Dr. Brian Ferguson’s concerns regarding the future of the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre. But, he does take offence to criticism his municipality is doing nothing to help.

“I’m not saying Dr. Ferguson is wrong for voicing his concerns over the medical manpower issue because he’s right on that count,” David Kogon said. “To go and say nothing is happening without checking about what is actually happening gives a bad message. It generates more fear amongst the people. Making it sound like nothing’s happening when there is, is not sending the correct message.”

Kogon said he respects Dr. Ferguson and the work he has done for the hospital. He does not want him to leave the community.

The mayor said that while health care is a provincial responsibility, he and Cumberland County’s other municipal leaders and their councils know they have to get involved to assist with recruiting physicians.

“We want to help with recruitment success, which is why the local recruitment committee was formed and why municipal leaders like myself and Oxford Mayor Trish Stewart are on that committee,” Kogon said. “We are very active in attending site visits with physicians and going to job fairs. There’s one in Digby in November that Trish is going to and there’s one in December in Toronto that I’m going to.

“While we’re not responsible for the delivery of health care we know we can be helpful in getting the hospital’s manpower issues improved and we’re diligent in participating in that.”

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Dr. Ferguson criticized municipal leaders in the county for not stepping up to the plate and fighting for the hospital that he feels is the loss of a doctor or specialist away from losing its regional status.

The mayor said he and Deputy Mayor Sheila Christie are Amherst’s representatives on the Cumberland Health Care Task Force that recently issued a petition calling on the province and the provincial health authority to do more to retain and recruit physicians to Cumberland County and to include local doctors when attending job fairs.

Amherst, he said, went as far as to fully fund the marketing efforts of the task force with its staff participating in developing packages and displays to be used at these job fairs to attract physicians.

Kogon said he remains optimistic the task force will be successful in recruiting one or more doctors and/or specialist to the regional hospital. He said there has already been one site visit by a potential candidate and he’s confident there will be more.

‘We want to show people Amherst and Cumberland County is a great place to live,” the mayor said. “Together we’re going to be more effective at recruiting if we work with our medical counterparts.”

Kogon said the task force will report its successes to the community as they occur.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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