On May 24, representatives from the Nova Scotia Health Authority, MLA Lloyd Hines, Municipality of the District of Guysborough Councillor Janet Peitzsche, management, staff and foundation members of Eastern Memorial Hospital, the Canso Lions Club, the local physician and myself from the community met at Eastern Memorial Hospital to discuss the current situation, to organize ourselves, and decide on where we go from here as a working group.
The Canso Stakeholder Working Group agreed that our purpose would be to provide a mechanism for addressing issues and sharing information about the recruitment and retention of health professionals within our community and to explore opportunities to work together on common goals to support health care service delivery focused on community needs.
It was a productive meeting with a discussion about the shortage of nurses, which has caused the Eastern Memorial Hospital to close from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day, and the need to recruit and retain nurses. There was a sharing of concerns and suggestions.
The community members expressed that there is a need for more representation of local groups on the committee and these groups will be contacted and asked to participate. In the very near future, the group will meet with Janet Knox, the Nova Scotia Health Authority CEO, to express our concerns and share our ideas. Further, the group is in the process of organizing a community information session to give the public an opportunity to see what is being done and will give people a chance to share their ideas and suggestions.
Overall, it was a positive and productive meeting. The group is determined to do their best to find solutions, both short and long term, to address the nursing shortage at Canso’s Eastern Memorial Hospital. We are also committed to keeping the public informed.
The co-chairs are Angela MacArthur, Director Integrated Health – Rural Sites EZ and Susan O’Handley, community member.