N.B. premier wants surgery program at Charlotte County Hospital kept open

Premier Brian Gallant will attempt to "push" Horizon Health Network toward keeping the surgery program open at Charlotte County Hospital. Horizon announced in July that operating room facilities at the hospital would shut down Aug. 9 citing low volume.

The premier addressed the topic over jeers during his speech in St. Stephen for New Brunswick Day.

Premier Brian Gallant says he will "push" Horizon Health Network to keep operating room facilities open at Charlotte County Hospital. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Premier Brian Gallant will attempt to "push" Horizon Health Network toward keeping the surgery program open at Charlotte County Hospital.

Horizon announced in July that operating room facilities at the hospital would shut down Aug. 9, citing low volume.

The premier made his statements during his speech in St. Stephen on New Brunswick Day. The assembled crowd initially booed his attempts to address the topic with one person yelling "excuses." 

Gallant said he believes that if the right personnel can be recruited, the unit could continue to operate.

"I want to put in perspective, that if the person wasn't retiring there'd be really no issue, everything would go forward as is."

According to Gallant, Horizon does not think they will be able to recruit adequate medical staff.

"We do not agree. We want to work with the community to find the appropriate medical staff and recruit them to come here so we can keep the O.R. open."

Keeping support staff on

He also thinks medical support staff can be kept on, although he acknowledged Horizon's authority.

"We're going to push [Horizon] to hopefully keep the five supporting staff here in Charlotte County," said Gallant.

"So we can, working together, recruit someone they can go right in, no transition time lost, they can go right back into the O.R. making sure that the service is available."

Gallant praised the community's activism on the issue and also said he heard at a rally that surgeons had expressed interest. According to him, Horizon has not received any names.

Horizon Health Network could not be reached for comment Monday.