There are no front runners when it comes to picking a hospital to host a major trauma centre for the province, says a New Brunswick-based health economist.
As it stands now, resources for dealing withserious injuries are scattered throughout the province. People with head injuries may be rushed tothe Saint John Regional Hospital, while those needing surgery for broken bones could go to Moncton, which has two hospitals, the George Dumont and the Moncton Hospital.
The province plans to choose one facility to handle most serious trauma cases. The designation carries with it more funding for the latest equipment, specialized staff and a higher profile in the medical community.
Economist Malcolm Brown says the three hospitals in Saint John and Moncton all provide important services, but right now he doesn't find one to be more up to the task than the others, and, with such a small population, the province cansupport only one trauma centre financially.
"Our problems are accentuated by the fact that we really havetwo small towns wanting to be a major centre," Brown said.
Health Minister Mike Murphy says it will be a while before a decision is made.
"We'll make a decision in a normal, ordinary process and it won't be delayed many months and it won't be delayed years," Murphy said. "I don't think that anyone should worry that somehow there's a decision around the corner. There isn't."
Murphy says his department is waiting on the results of a consultant's report, which is due within weeks.