Trauma report foments 'old gap' in health services

A new report on the province's trauma system is failing to account for the need to deliver trauma services in French, according to a health lobby group.

Group criticizes idea of consolidating Moncton's trauma system

A new report on the province's trauma system is failing to account for the need to deliver trauma services in French, according to a health lobby group.

Health Minister Madeleine Dube released a consultant's report last week that is being criticized for suggesting that trauma services in Moncton be consolidated into one hospital. (CBC) ((CBC))
The Department of Health released a consultant's report last week that reviewed the province's new trauma system, making several recommendations for improvements after the network's first year in service.

Dr. Hubert Dupuis, the president of Egalite sante en francais, a group that sued the provincial government  for the lack of health-care services for francophones, said the report does nothing to improve trauma care for francophones.

The provincial government eventually struck a deal in April 2010 with the group that recognized one of the province's two regional health authorities would operate in French. 

Dupuis said the trauma system review has ignored the policy fallout from that out-of-court settlement with the provincial government.

The report suggests consolidating all advanced trauma care at the Saint John Regional and The Moncton Hospital.

"This will perpetuate the same old gap that has existed in New Brunswick between the anglophone institutions and the francophones institutions and this does not help at all to create equality in health care services at all," he said.

While some hospitals are regarded as anglophone or francophone institutions, the Official Languages Act says people have the right to treatment in their language of choice.

Dupuis said he is trying to reach Health Minister Madeleine Dube to discuss the report, but she hasn't returned his call.

Report ignores 'new reality'

New Brunswick's trauma network was given life after a northeastern New Brunswick man waited more than 12 hours in the Bathurst hospital as doctors tried to find a hospital to take him.

The man had suffered multiple serious injuries in the crash, including a broken neck.

The new system was intended to eliminate similar problems from happening in the future.

The Saint John Regional Hospital is designated as the province's only level one trauma centre. ((CBC))
The Saint John Regional Hospital was designated as the province's main tertiary hospital and was designated a level one centre.

When the trauma network was created, The Moncton Hospital was designated to be the only level two trauma centre and the nearby Dr.-Georges-L Dumont Regional Hospital was listed as a level three centre.

The report said there is time when the Dumont hospital is uncovered by an orthopaedic consultant.

The Hay Group said it is necessary for any hospital with a specific trauma designation to meet the necessary standards or have its status altered.

The report indicated if the Dumont hospital wanted to keep its level three status then it had to eliminate those gaps in service.

The report went further to suggest, "it would not be unreasonable to consolidate all urgent and emergency trauma activity in the city of Moncton at The Moncton Hospital."

Dupuis said he does not believe the report recognizes the importance of delivering health services to the francophone community.

He said he was also concerned it did not mention the possibility of tertiary-level trauma centres for francophones.

The group's president said the report's authors, an international consulting firm, wrote the document without understanding the complexity of health care services in the province.

"Some civil servant forgot to tell the Hay Group that there's a new reality in New Brunswick in health-care services and I guess they kind of forgot about it," Dupuis said.