GUYSBOROUGH – “One complaint is too many complaints,” when it comes to ambulance delays putting patients at risk, Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) Warden Vernon Pitts told media on Nov. 18, after the regular monthly meeting of council.
Pitts was referring to a matter Deputy Warden Janet Peitzsche brought to council that afternoon; a constituent in her district waited seven hours for an EHS transfer from Canso to Antigonish, during which time the patient's appendix ruptured. And this was only the most recent complaint council had heard about EHS service in the municipality.
Council has been in discussion with EHS about the lack of service in the municipality in the past and a motion was passed at Wednesday’s meeting to invite EHS to another meeting to discuss the issue.
“We want some answers,” said Pitts. “There’s a disconnect here. They’re telling us one thing but in actuality other things are happening. We want to get this straightened out sooner rather than later.”
And if things didn’t improve, Pitts said, “Our next step will be approaching the minister because ultimately the province is the one responsible for it. They pay for the service—we pay for the service through our tax rates—but the province in essence, they deal the money out. They’re supposed to get a service that they pay for and we want the service.”
Another blow was dealt to health care in the municipality last week. Council was notified during Wednesday’s meeting that a doctor who had been slated to begin practice in the village had decided against a move to Guysborough. The physician shortage situation continues.
In other business, council discussed the garbage pick-up service the MODG provides to the Town of Mulgrave. A letter was recently sent from the MODG to Mulgrave informing the town that garbage and recycling collection would move to a biweekly service. Prior to this notification, Mulgrave has had weekly pick-up of both waste streams.
Pitts said of the change, “It’s not a cut in service; it is a service that all our residents (MODG) receive today … MODG is not making any money at this; it’s at a cost to us. That’s what Mulgrave is paying. They certainty have the option and the right to go out and look for garbage collection elsewhere.”
Pitts explained that the weekly service Mulgrave has enjoyed was part of an accommodation given to the town when MODG took up garbage collection during the dissolution talks. “What happened is, this was first instituted when we were looking at the dissolution of Mulgrave…and it was a service to our neighbour.”
Going forward, Pitts said, the MODG would have a contract with Mulgrave for waste collection; there currently isn’t one. Mulgrave has the option to put waste collection out to tender. If they chose that route, the MODG would put in a bid, Pitts said.
The MODG will provide waste collection until Mulgrave tells them otherwise. Pitts said, “I don’t foresee MODG leaving them standing high and dry. They’re our neighbours, our friends.”