In response to recent comments, I can assure the citizens of Amherst that neither I nor the town council have been silent when it comes to the situation being faced at our local hospital.
It is out of our concern about the future of the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre that Deputy-Mayor Sheila Christie and I became members of the Cumberland Health Care Task Force, which recently issued a petition calling on the provincial government and the Nova Scotia Health Authority to do more to retain and recruit physician to Cumberland County and to include local doctors when they are attending job fairs in order to recruit physicians for this community.
When the petition was issued earlier this month, I said, “The town supports the petition because the steps the taskforce is asking be done would enhance the ability to maintain specialists and recruit them to the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.”
I also said, “We need an active, dynamic regional hospital complete with a full complement of specialists in order for the Town of Amherst to remain vibrant and be able to attract business here.”
Feeling it was such an important issue, the town agreed to have the petition available in our lobby at town hall for the general public to sign. That opportunity still exists and I would strongly urge our residents to come into town hall and sign the petition.
In addition, I have participated in and will participate in site visits by prospective physicians, and I will be attending a family practice job fair in Toronto in November.
When concerns about the hospital’s future were first raised, I met with Cumberland County Warden Al Gillis and together we met with the Minister of Health apprising him of our belief that more had to be done to recruit physicians here and to ensure that our hospital remains a regional health care centre.
Council has also shown its concern for the future of the regional health care centre through its decision to provide $10,000 towards recruitment activities, something that I spearheaded and asked council to act upon.
I believe that I am and the Amherst town council has shown it is very concerned about the future of the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre. I believe our support of the Cumberland Health Care Task Force, our support of the petition, my personal efforts to attract new physicians and the Town of Amherst’s $10,000 commitment to recruiting efforts are examples of just how committed we are to ensuring our hospital remains a regional health care centre for years to come.