The announcement of a looming closure of a walk-in clinic in Sydney will affect thousands of Cape Bretoners, and is further evidence of a healthcare crisis on the Island. Today, it was reported that the only walk-in clinic in Sydney would close at the end of April without financial support from the Liberal government.
PC MLA Brian Comer says that it’s shocking but unsurprising news for Cape Breton, where the healthcare crisis has once again reared its ugly head. Comer says this clinic is serving as a crucial service - and in some cases, the sole access point - for those Nova Scotians without access to primary care.
The latest numbers from the Halifax-based Nova Scotia Health Authority show a more than 35% increase in those living in the Eastern Zone looking for a family doctor. This clinic regularly attracts patients from across Cape Breton Island.
“Sadly, Cape Bretoners are no longer shocked when something they should have is taken away,” says Comer. “Eight years ago, the healthcare crisis was born on Cape Breton Island and for eight years, it’s only gotten worse. Healthcare is a right.”
PC MLAs have been hammering the Liberal government on their unacceptable healthcare record during this session of the Legislature. While the new health minister is quick to defend their efforts with words, PC Leader, Tim Houston says you can’t hide behind facts.
“This government is happy to showcase their poor record of recruitment over the past year with soundbites, but when they are asked to explain the number of physicians retiring or leaving, they clam up and sling mud at anyone who would ask,” says Houston.
The “Need a Family Doctor” registry reported that as of April 2021, 64,921 Nova Scotians are without a primary care provider. And for the third year running, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that the death rate in hospitals in Cape Breton are the highest in Canada.
“The PC Party has been putting forward plans that emphasize the value of primary care and virtual care, to ensure Nova Scotians can access care where and when they need it,” says Comer. “This crisis is so much bigger than who is in government. I hope the Liberals will put egos aside and work with us to ensure this already critical problem doesn’t get worse.”