Nova Scotia

EMO worries about cuts at the Shelburne hospital

The head of emergency measures in Shelburne County is concerned about a plan to end an overnight shift at Roseway Hospital this fall

Overnight staff also work as fire dispatchers

The South West Health Authority plans cut an overnight shift at the Roseway Hospital in Shelburne County. (CBC)

 

The head of emergency measures in Shelburne County is concerned about a plan to end an overnight shift at Roseway Hospital in Shelburne this fall.

The South West Nova District Health Authority plans to cut back on staff who work the front desk and switchboard between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. at the hospital.

In addition to helping at the front door, the desk staff are also dispatchers for six volunteer fire departments. 

Dan Bowers, Emergency Measures Office co-ordinator, said he has a lot of concerns.

"They know who is who, and where is where. If you need a bulldozer or a backhoe at 3 o'clock in the morning, they know who to phone get that resource. Because they're local people with local knowledge."

Roseway Hospital is the only hospital in the province with this arrangement.

Bowers said it could cost the fire departments close to $5,000 to replace the dispatchers.

Ivan Goodwin, who lives in the area and was a volunteer firefighter for 16 years, and said jobs and services should be kept local.

"We've got people starting to go back to work, and we're cutting services. It just doesn't make sense."

With no one at the front desk, a buzzer would be installed to let people into the building late at night.

"Right now we have a place that provides an absolutely wonderful service. And to have that replaced by a cheap hardware store doorbell to summon somebody in the middle of the night, I don't think is a very good solution," Bower said.

The hospital said the changes wouldn't affect patients.

The changes are scheduled to take effect Oct.1.

now