Perth-Andover hospital may move out of flood zone
Health Minister Ted Flemming says it doesn't make sense to have facility in flood zone
Health Minister Ted Flemming strongly hinted on Wednesday that the Perth-Andover hospital could be moved out of the flood zone in the northwestern village.
The health minister did not make a firm commitment about the Perth-Andover hospital's future but he said it doesn't make sense for the facility to remain in an area that could be flooded again in the future.
"We can continue to throw money under water or we can give the good people of Perth top notch primary health care," Flemming said.
"What was once a great location for a hospital decades ago is not a good place today, so we have got to move with that, we have to deal with the hand that nature has dealt us, so we will."
Flemming said he's met with local doctors about the possible options.
The health minister said any decisions on building a new facility would be announced in upcoming budgets.
The Horizon Health Authority said two weeks ago that surgery would stay at the small, northwestern New Brunswick facility. But
Flemming would not commit to that on Wednesday and said there are clinical reasons to have surgery in a central location.
The health minister said people do not mind travelling for a better service.
The Upper River Valley Hospital in Waterville is roughly 60 kilometres away.
The Hotel Dieu of Saint Joseph Hospital was damaged in the March flood.
Earlier in November, the Department of Health said it would not pay for any more repairs or renovations at the hospital.
Labour and delivery services were moved to the Waterville hospital after the flood and the provincial government said it would not move those services back to Perth-Andover.
Victoria-Tobique Tory MLA Wes McLean said he would not pre-judge the health minister's final decision on whether to build a new hospital out of the flood zone.
But standing next to the health minister in an interview with reporters, McLean said his community was hit by a "devastating flood."
"We can rest pretty confident that it is going to flood again, so we have to look at all our options going forward," McLean said of the hospital.