New Brunswick Health Minister Brad Green says he's already taking steps to improve trauma care following a report criticizing the province's emergency medical system.
Last November, a Tracadie man had to wait 18 hours for surgery after a serious car accident while hospital officials in Moncton and Bathurst argued about who should treat him.
The province commissioned an independent study to find out what happened. The final report points out many flaws in the system and lists 29 recommendations for improvement.
Green says that includes a single ambulance service for all of the province. "Currently, we have over 50 individual contracts around the province, some of which are operated by regional health authorities, some by municipalities, some by for-profit operators," he said. "I expect within a few weeks, to be making an announcement on a new ambulance system province-wide."
But Liberal health critic Victor Boudreau isn't convinced the Lord government is taking the recommendations in the report seriously.
Boudreau says many MLAs have concerns about the level of trauma care New Brunswickers are receiving. He hopes to question the government about the situation in the legislature this week.
"This is the type of frustration I guess that we get from this government. They get these reports. They get recommendations. But as far as we're concerned, they don't act on them fast enough," Bourdreau said.
The victim in the case, Donald Thomas, just hopes what happened to him last November never happens to anyone else. The 67-year-old was in a serious car accident in Tracadie. He was transferred to Bathurst, but doctors there felt he needed more advanced care.
It took hours for a trauma centre in Saint John to agree to take him. "I was lucky that I survived, but the next person may not survive, and it could be your brother as well as my brother or sister, any member of our own families."
The independent report into the incident points out many flaws in trauma care. It also suggests many improvements, including a unified provincial trauma system, more training for emergency personnel and improved air and ground ambulance service.
Boudreau says his party is going to push the government to act on this report. He says MLAs have many questions about the level of trauma care New Brunswickers receive, and the topic will be front and centre in the legislature this week.