Nova Scotia

Inverness rally protests surgery cuts

Hundreds of people turned out for a rally in Inverness, N.S., Sunday to protest service cuts at the local hospital.
A rally was held to protest cuts to after-hours surgeries at the Inverness Hospital. (Wendy Martin/CBC)

Hundreds of people turned out for a rally in Inverness, N.S., Sunday to protest cuts at the local hospital.

The cuts to service begin Monday at the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital where there will be no more after-hours surgeries.

This is part of the Cape Breton District Health Authority's efforts to cut $1 million in its perioperative services across the region.

Anyone who needs emergency surgery will have to be transferred either to Sydney or Antigonish – each of those communities about a two hour drive away.

The authority said part of the reason it's making the cut is also because 80 per cent of surgeries done there are not emergencies and can be scheduled during business hours.

Several people told emotional stories about crucial after-hours surgeries at Sunday's rally, including one nurse's story about a horrific car accident in which several people almost died.

"To think that after four o'clock a doctor cannot perform surgery, and to think that if an accident or an emergency came up, to have to go two hours to either Sydney or Antigonish, and God forbid in the winter, you'll never get there, you'll die and people are gonna lose lives if we let this happen," said Sharon Crighton, who lives in the area.

The people at the rally said they want the authority to delay the cut in service so a committee can explore other ways to save money.