Councillor’s 16-hour wait in Moncton ER lends drama to meeting with Horizon CEO

Councillor Bruce Phinney spent more than 16 hrs waiting to see an ER doctor in Moncton

Councillor Bruce Phinney’s recent 16 hour and 20 minute wait to see an emergency room doctor in Moncton gave a sense of drama to Tantramar Council’s meeting yesterday with the interim president and CEO of the Horizon Health Network.

“I’m sorry you waited 16 hours,” Margaret Melanson responded after Phinney asked when round-the-clock, seven-day ER services would be restored in Sackville.

“I would say that we are not close in the immediate future,” she said. “I would say we are months out.”

She explained that Horizon is looking for at least two more full-time doctors to help staff the ER.

“I really don’t want to re-introduce additional hours and then have to retreat again from that,” she explained.

Eight hour ER service

The Sackville ER is open every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The restricted hours began nearly two years ago in June 2021.

“Our next leap would hopefully be that we would be able to be open until at least midnight and then from there, look at what will be the model for an overnight service availability,” Melanson said.

She added that Horizon is pursuing a few expressions of interest from ER doctors.

“But, I couldn’t give you a date today as to when we would be ready to introduce that [24-hour service] again, but I will tell you, absolutely, that is our goal.”

Margaret Melanson, Horizon interim president and CEO

Earlier, Melanson told council that the nursing staff at Sackville’s hospital is now at full strength with the hiring of two additional, full-time ER nurses and six, additional, full-time nurses for the 21-bed Brunswick Unit that provides acute and longer-term care.

When Phinney acknowledged that there are emergency room delays all across New Brunswick, Melanson agreed, but said things are improving.

“We are doing much better than we were and we’ve also increased a great deal our efficiencies within the emergency departments,” she said.

For his part, Phinney said he felt the long wait was worth it because of the care and attention he received from hospital staff.

“I applaud the people that work there,” he said. “They deserve medals, what they had to put up with and how they performed their services was just unbelievable and they should be commended every day for what they do.”

All-night wait

Phinney said later he went to the Moncton ER about two weeks ago on a Saturday with what he suspected was an infection in his swollen right eye.

“I had to go all the way to Moncton because the ER was closed here,” he said. “It shows why it’s so important to have an ER in Sackville that’s open 24/7.”

Phinney arrived in the Moncton ER at 5:08 p.m., was triaged at 5:25, and then waited until 9:15 Sunday morning to see a doctor.

“I was worried about losing that eye. My face was swollen. It was aching and pretty painful,” he says.

During his long wait, staff came around regularly to check on patients and take their blood pressure.

He says staff also had to deal with disturbances caused by loud and unruly patients.

“I can’t say enough about how good the staff were and the doctor,” he says. “I can’t thank them enough.”

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3 Responses to Councillor’s 16-hour wait in Moncton ER lends drama to meeting with Horizon CEO

  1. Christian Corbet says:

    Over the years council has done little to advance the town to a status of which it once was or to where it could grow to. Why haven’t they done this? because they don’t know how to or it would have been done by now. There is little here that is enticing for anyone, doctor or otherwise, to wish to move here least of all a town where its ER services are cut back. The town is dying and most of council have their blinders on. Bring on the next generation of business people who are thinkers, we need them!

  2. Tantramarobserver says:

    Drive around town. Simply take a look around.

    Allowing this town to look like a junk yard amongst decrepit unmaintained properties with filth all over does not make this an appealing community to settle into for medical professionals that have the choice to live and work anywhere they wish.

    • Wayne Feindel Puppet of the People says:

      The two previous observations point out that the community has to look attractive enough in and of itself an incentive., but that’s not the core problem. Fredericton force-fed amalgamation (to swell up taxes) Foie Grass offered as a solution to the province’s woes offering local government on paper broad powers, but in fact putting us in a cage where we can hardly turn our necks. The real villain over the last twenty years is the shift of power directly to technicians and managerial elites [CEO’s] for a more smoothly run state by use of a corporate concept ‘policy governance’- Tom Coyne The Many Failures of Policy Governance. The newly elected councilors while waiting for training (used to be the council that trained staff) find themselves rubber stamping the expenditure of millions of dollars. Council has now been co-opted into what might turn out to be a failure to do their fiduciary duty. Individual councillors were not assigned their oversight duties, have not even had time to move that at least some standing committees be formed . Reports come to council in “glibfab’ manner. no modern reporting systems such as a SOPPADA. Don’t see any bills. Don’t see a balance sheet and it looks like the committee of the whole isn’t a committee. The chair of any committee formed by council (no motion to do that from the councillors it appears.) Agendas are a joint effort of CEO through Mayor to council. Possible violations of Robert’s Rules. The Chair of a committee is separate from the Mayor who can’t report to himself. All motions at the committee level are {ratified} in a regular duly constituted meeting.

      The Main problem for Tantramar is the lack of leadership at the provincial level but even so, Mayor Black signaled openly that he was not in favor of the corporate play book, but he was told he must vote on every issue. He pleaded the {superior Rule} that Fredericton made him do it. So this remark suggests that the permissive and broad-reaching powers of the new act the mayor is “free to do as he is told”. The abandonment of the individual participation of elected officials undermines the legitimacy of individuals in a democracy.. Mayor Black please do not walk away from us. Fulfill your duty to be our servant and start defending citizens against the lies of corporatism and the legitimization of corruption. Citizen-based democracy and not a stable managerial “hierarchical society.”

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