The most recent round of consultations looking at emergency department closures in Digby drew a crowd of two.
“I’m really glad the board came to Digby,” said Linda Gregory, warden of the Municipality of the District of Digby, after the meeting, Thursday night, July 5. “But I’m not sure 5 p.m. in the evening is the best time for working families. Lots of people work until five or six and then they have to pick up their children. It’s been suggested before they might want to schedule the meeting a little later if they want more attendance.”
The South West Nova District Health Authority held the consultation after their annual general meeting in the Digby Regional High School auditorium.
Provincial regulations require a public consultation after two unplanned closures of an emergency department over a six-month period.
Blaise MacNeil, the health authority CEO says Digby’s ED has been open 95 per cent of the time but the board and staff are committed to having it open 100 per cent of the time. The major reason for the closures is physician unavailability.
The board, senior board management, the local MLA Junior Theriault, warden Gregory, town councilor Jean Brittain, Dr. John Black and a reporter plus two interested citizens attended.
Dr. Black congratulated the board for visiting Digby and showing that it’s a regional board and not just a Yarmouth board and he apologized for the poor attendance.
Digby board member Bob Handspiker says they get the same showing wherever they hold the meetings.
“There should be a lot more people concerned about the emergency department closures,” said Handspiker. “Here’s their chance to voice their concerns—it’s their health.”
He says Digby’s community health board is also looking to appoint another member to the health authority board.
The questions on the consultation form include: What are your suggestions for keeping the emergency departments open 24/7? What do you see as barriers to recruitment?
The final question: What worked well with this consultation process and how might we improve it?
Handspiker says anyone who missed the meeting and has suggestions, concerns or questions for the board can address them to him and he will pass them on.