Pugwash residents are very concerned that a new health care facility for the community was not recommended for the fiscal year 2016-2017. Janet Knox, CEO, of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, told a community group that the Authority would not recommend the project to Treasury Board of Government. The current facility, North Cumberland Memorial Hospital, is now 50 years old and is showing its age. The community has seen many delays and postponements; residents will only be convinced when they see construction underway on the new facility.
In December 2014, Liberal health and Wellness Minister, Leo Glavine, indicated decisions would soon be made regarding the province’s financial commitment to a new facility. Cumberland North MLA Terry Farrell, who represents the Pugwash area, indicated in June 2015 that the new facility was part of the 2015/16 capital budget. It was hoped to have a ground-breaking ceremony in the fall of 2015. The Pugwash community is still waiting.
Ms. Knox spoke a town hall presentation on March 1st when she confirmed that the project will not go ahead in the next fiscal year but that there is $1,500,000 set aside for study and planning for a facility. Minister of Health and Wellness, Leo Glavine was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.
Pugwash residents recognize that the current facility has served the community well in the past. However, it is a split-level building with no elevator. There is no central air conditioning system. The washrooms are not wheelchair accessible. There is no ambulance bay which means transfers of patients must occur outside in all types of weather. Patient transfers from nearby East Cumberland Lodge, a long term care facility, must occur by ambulance even though the distance is only a few hundred metres.
At the present time, recruitment of new health care providers is problematic. It is very difficult to recruit providers to Pugwash with its aging facility when they can look to other communities with more modern facilities in which to practice medicine. With its large senior population, this point is one of the greatest concerns for Pugwash residents.
Contact: Peter Lewis, co-chair, Ad hoc Committee for a New Health care facility for Pugwash