Roseway Hospital medical centre plans to be announced this summer, says province
Residents also worry the ER will be closed permanently
Residents of Shelburne say they are not giving up their fight for renovations and expansion of a medical centre that was closed more than five years ago.
The centre, located next to the Roseway Hospital, was home to a group of general practitioners and was closed by the province so that it could undergo renovations. So far, there have been just promises and no action.
"In the spring, there was an announcement that an announcement was forthcoming in a week or so," said Wayne Dooks, a member of S.O.S. (Save Our Services), a committee set up after a town meeting this spring.
After a week or so, he says an announcement was made saying there would be announcement coming later in the spring or fall.
"What they're planning, we don't know just yet," said Dooks.
Residents worry the ER will be permanently closed
People in Shelburne are grappling with a hospital where services have been cut dramatically over the years. They also must contend with frequent ER closures, leaving people with a one-hour drive to either Liverpool or Yarmouth if they need emergency care.
Dooks said people are frustrated and fearful the lack of action on the medical centre may be reflective of a future where the emergency centre is closed permanently.
"And then all of the emergency cases will be shipped off to either Yarmouth or Bridgewater, which brings a lot of fear because we have a strong seniors element here in this area," he said.
Debi Davis-Hill, a community activist and pastor at a local church, said the community meeting was the start of a more vocal attempt to get the government to act.
"A committee was struck from that meeting of those who were interested in continuing on in making sure this issue issue stays in front of minister Leo Glavine's face 24/7," she said.
The committee has generated a form letter that's been distributed to churches and other sites so residents can let the health minister know they're concerned. It's also offered suggestions on how to improve health care in the area.
Health minister says plans will be announced this summer
Health Minister Leo Glavine says he's well aware of the frustrations over the delay in renovating the medical clinic. He says there are a number of reasons, including the need to revise the plans so the centre can accommodate medical residents who are part of Dalhousie University's residency program in Yarmouth,
"What I can tell the people of Shelburne today is that we're actually very very close to be able to go to Shelburne and give a comprehensive picture of what is coming," Glavine said Thursday.
The minister said the announcement will be made this summer, but would not disclose the cost estimate for the medical centre or how much the province is willing to contribute.
The town of Shelburne, the municipality and the Roseway Hospital Foundation have already committed a total of $850,000 to the project.
Dooks says the town needs good medical services if it hopes to attract young families to help the area grow.
"We're not just a retirement home," he said.
"There is a place, a purpose and potential for this land and this area and the health service is necessary to encourage people to come here."