Eastern Memorial Hospital crisis

Working group plans way forward

By Helen Murphy    

CANSO – A new working group established to help find a solution to the nursing shortage impacting Eastern Memorial Hospital in Canso held its first meeting Friday, May 24.

The group is co-chaired by Angela MacArthur, director of integrated health for rural hospitals, and community representative Susan O’Handley. In a post to a new Facebook group called “Canso Stakeholder Working Group,” O’Handley said the meeting was “productive” and included “a sharing of concerns and suggestions” about the closure from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily.

Effective May 12, nighttime emergency room services and admissions to the hospital have been halted because of the nursing shortage. Recruitment and retention strategies were discussed at the meeting.

O’Handley said the group agreed its purpose would be “to provide a mechanism for addressing issues and sharing information about recruitment and retention of health professionals within our community. To explore opportunities to work together on common goals to support health care service delivery focused on community needs.”

Other members of the working group in attendance Friday included Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie MLA Lloyd Hines, MODG Councillor Janet Peitzsche, representatives of hospital management and staff, a local physician and other community, hospital foundation and NSHA representatives.

The community members expressed the need for more representation of local groups on the committee and it was agreed that these groups will be contacted and asked to participate. The working group plans to meet with Janet Knox, NSHA CEO, in the near future to discuss concerns and ideas for a solution to the nursing shortage.

A community information session is also being planned.