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Open discussion on rural health care to be held in Shelburne Feb. 15

['Roseway Hospital has seen spate of ER closures because of a shortage of doctors and nurses.']
Roseway Hospital.

SHELBURNE, N.S. – Concerned citizens, municipal leaders and health-care professionals from throughout the region, and likely beyond, will gather at the Shelburne Community Centre Thursday, Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon for an open discussion on the current state of health care in rural Nova Scotia.

Hosted by the Town of Shelburne and the Nova Scotia Health Coalition (NSHC), the meeting follows up on proactive steps taken by the town since last fall to bring attention to the current state of health care in the province, and to get an open dialogue going with other communities facing similar access-to-health-care issues that have been plaguing Shelburne County residents for years.

“In January the Shelburne Town Council reached out to those communities most impacted by the frequent emergency room closures and family doctor shortages which have come to characterize life in rural Nova Scotia in recent years,” said Town of Shelburne CAO Dylan Heide in a press release. “We had a good response rate from throughout the south shore and southwest Nova Scotia and the council decided to bring together political representatives, community groups, medical professionals and individuals for an initial discussion.”

In an interview, Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall emphasized the meeting is “a starting point. It’s an initial meeting and certainly there will be more,” she said.

“The thinking that when you speak out it’s a negative. This isn’t negative. It’s not intended to be negative. It’s intended to draw attention to what isn’t working in the best interests of the residents to get the attention of decision makers so they can fix it. Our intention is to simply continue to draw attention to the fact there are residents without doctors and without access to services. We need to draw attention to that until they fix it.”

Mayor Mattatall said the meeting is open to all who want to participate. The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) has been informed of the meeting.

“They’ve been sent the information. Whether anybody shows up or not we’ll see.”

Mayor Mattatall said as municipal representatives, “We have a responsibility to do more than repeat the messaging of the Nova Scotia Health Authority. We have to explore locally-based solutions to the current health-care crisis and insist that the provincial government in Halifax listen to the residents of rural Nova Scotia.”

The Feb. 15 session will take place in Meeting Room A at the Shelburne Community Centre at 63 King St. in Shelburne.

Interested parties are encouraged to RSVP to the Town of Shelburne at 902-875-2991 ext. 8. The town will also be exploring options to allow for remote participation in the discussion for those who wish to participate but aren’t able to attend in person.

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