Local 4848 has very deep concerns regarding the announcement made on February 11th affecting six New Brunswick hospitals.
Government`s decision to close 6 emergency departments across the province will unnecessarily increase travel time to larger centers, this decision directly affects public safety in the event of an emergency. The major centres are already overcrowded. Having paramedics stuck in hospital hallways with patients waiting for hospital staff is already severely reducing ambulance availabilities for 911 calls. The public will now be forced to commute, and in some areas over an hour to a facility for care. With these longer commutes, the potential for incidents will increase and will further deplete this provinces valuable resources and put public safety at greater risk. Every emergency department and clinic plays a vital role in in this province, even more so in Rural New Brunswick. As the saying goes, this change will be nothing more than “robbing Peter to pay Paul” and as history has shown, it never works.
ANB paramedics and dispatchers are working at the top level of their skillset, longer time for assessment and treatment will directly affect the outcome of the public requiring medical attention. With these service eliminations our dispatchers will most certainly be negatively affected as they may be kept on the line longer depending on the type of ambulance pre arrival instructions. These situations will certainly affect public safety.
In emergency medical situations health care professionals refer to the term “Golden Hour”. The Golden hour is from the time the incident happened until arriving at the ER department. With the majority of this time taken for transporting to the larger hospitals that will remain open, we may not be able to change the outcome of these emergencies.
The solution for New Brunswick health care should never be the elimination of services! If we truly want to reform health care in New Brunswick, we need to look beyond shutting down emergency services like emergency departments. We need to invest in our people and focus on compensating and recruiting people for the exceptional service they provide everyday while still dealing with the repercussions of past government’s decisions.
For the safety of the public, we strongly urge that you reconsider these changes.
President, Local 4848