SHELBURNE, N.S. – The Rural Nova Scotia Health Crisis Working Group will be continuing their plan of action to bring attention to Nova Scotia’s failing health care system when they meet at the Shelburne Community Centre on King Street on May 14 at 10:30 a.m.
This will be the third meeting of the working group since the initial meeting in February which brought together more than 40 people representing 11 municipal units, community organizations, health professionals and concerned individuals from Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne and Lunenburg counties. The Nova Scotia Health Coalition (NSHC) is also involved.
One initiative of the working group so far includes drafting a resolution to be presented to the fall conference of the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities’ (previously known as the UNSM) fall conference that has a rural focus and is reflective of the current health crisis. Other initiatives include organizing a provincial day of action on the rural Nova Scotia health crisis, requesting that each provincial opposition party dedicate a day in the legislature during the fall sitting specifically to discuss the current state of health care, and the possibility of organizing an outreach event in the HRM in June or July in partnership with the Nova Scotia Health Coalition.
Plans for the provincial day of action, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 29, would be a series of coordinated events in communities throughout rural Nova Scotia on a single day that would demonstrations at MLAs offices, regardless of party.
The working group is also drafting an introductory letter to all Nova Scotia municipalities, clarifying their intentions and to seek their support for initiatives including the provincial day of action and the proposed UNSM resolution.
Continued hospital emergency room closures in Shelburne and Digby, frustrations over recent Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) consultations that left participants feeling talked at and stage-managed, overcrowding at local and regional health facilities, significant delays for ambulances, and physician recruitment and residency issues were on the table for discussion at the April 16 meeting of the working group.
Building bridges and reaching out to other areas of rural Nova Scotia experiencing the effects of the current health crisis are also on the working group’s radar. The working group is also inviting Doctors Nova Scotia and the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia to attend future meetings. The working group is chaired by Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall. The meetings are open to the public.