Tantramar hopes to spend $10K to help recruit doctors for Sackville Memorial

Senior Manager Kieran Miller

It appears that the new Town of Tantramar will continue providing financial support to help recruit the doctors needed to restore 24/7 emergency room services at Sackville Memorial Hospital.

Kieran Miller, director of community and corporate services, says that last year, Sackville town council allocated $10,000 to help community volunteers and the Horizon Health Network recruit doctors using such tools as a marketing study and a recruitment website.

Although this year’s budget was set by the province, Miller indicated during today’s Tantramar council meeting that she expects the money will still be available.

“We haven’t seen a detailed version of the budget, but I don’t see why that $10,000 wouldn’t still be there,” she said.

“It was very useful last year and I would hope to continue it this year.”

Progress report

Earlier, members of the Rural Health Action Group reported to council on the progress made since February 2020 when local community leaders vowed to fight the Higgs government’s plan to cut overnight emergency room services as well as day surgeries and short-term, acute-care beds at Sackville Memorial.

The minority Conservative government soon backed down, but Sackville Memorial’s future remained uncertain in the face of declining staff morale and resignations as well as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Margaret Tusz-King addressing Tantramar Council on behalf of the Rural Health Action Group

Margaret Tusz-King told council that recruitment efforts have been paying off.

She said 19 of 24 nurses are now in place, although the emergency room still needs four more doctors and two more nurses to offer 24-hour service. The ER is now scheduled to operate daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tusz-King said the Action Group has been working collaboratively with Horizon Health to maintain and improve hospital services while also seeking additional health services in the community.

Last month, Horizon announced $2 million in capital improvements at Sackville Memorial including renovations to the existing operating room and construction of a second one to provide orthopedic surgeries such as hip and knee replacements.

Horizon has also just completed renovations to the Sackville ER to repair damage caused by extensive flooding last fall.

Community voice

Tusz-King told council that the Action Group is now intent on making sure the community has a greater say in how the hospital is run.

“We know that health care is still precarious,” she said, adding that getting a voice for the community in decision making is a big issue.

“People who have long enough memories know that our hospital was built by the community; it was run by the community; the community had a voice and that hasn’t been present there for a long time.”

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4 Responses to Tantramar hopes to spend $10K to help recruit doctors for Sackville Memorial

  1. Sally Cunliffe says:

    Margot T. King to the rescue…. a sainthood cannot be far-off. After all, you don’t get a QEII medal if you’re not meddling regularly. If we didn’t have so many “action groups”, “taskforces”, and “coalitions” I don’t how this place would have survived all these hundreds of years since the settlers arrived on the native lands.

    • Monika Boehringer says:

      So what have you done recently, Sally, to bring urgently needed physicians and nurses to Sackville? I for one am grateful to the people who do try instead of making sarcastic comments. Especially given the fact that soon another MD is retiring without replacement and many, many more people will be without a family doctor in Sackville!

      • IndieMediaEastcoast Canada says:

        Rebrand the hospital “Tantramar Healthcare Centre” and welcome more types of practitioners to operate out of the building… ie. naturopaths, nutritionists, and professionals who are not working for Big Pharma.

    • Les Hicks says:

      Sally, you must have taken an extra nasty pill when you got up on the 28th.

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