The emergency room is still closing in Lunenburg, N.S., more than a year after a collaborative emergency centre was promised to solve the problem.
The ER at Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital was closed Monday, as it was Sunday. The ER has been closed at least five other days this month.
Short staffing causes the closures. Lunenburg residents who need emergency medical care must travel at least 20 minutes to Bridgewater.
'It's disappointing.' - Mayor Rachel Bailey
The former NDP government announced a collaborative emergency centre in December 2012 that would end ER closures and improve access to doctors, but it hasn’t happened.
Resident Gail Mossman said it’s a worry.
“It’s definitely a concern of ours, especially being our age. You don't want to travel a long distance when you have an emergency,” she said.
Rachel Bailey, the mayor of Lunenburg, said there was no sign when it would happen.
“That vision was acknowledged and happily received by the stakeholders in our area, but no time or dollar amount was put on the announcement,” she said. “It’s disappointing.”
Bailey said the CEC will work once it’s in place. “The wheels are in motion and hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later,” she said.
She said she hopes the new Liberal government will continue to back it.
Liberals say they'll deliver CEC
There is no deadline for opening the CEC.
Meetings have been held to identify what the CEC should look like. The health authority has asked the province for funding to complete the planning process.
After that, Lunenburg would need more funding to design the CEC. The community will then fund raise part of the cost.
A spokesman for the provincial health department said it supports CECs. It said it can take 18 months or more to open one.