At one point in time, the McAdam MacLean Memorial Hospital in McAdam was a top-notch health care facility that could mend almost any patient, without having to burden central urban centres with more patients. With 24/7 care, and the resources of having long-term stays and palliative care, the fourteen bed hospital was a pinnacle within the community.
In 1992, the hospital was reduced to a “Health Centre”, which meant nine out of fourteen beds were cut. Despite this loss, government officials assured residents that McAdam would have a “shared practice” between doctors, nurses and practitioners, 24 hours a day. In 2011, the provincial government once again made cuts to the health centre, resulting in McAdam, Harvey, Blacks Harbour and Plaster Rock, losing the remaining beds and only opening 8am to 4pm on week days, resulting in 70% of previous services lost. Each wave of cuts followed the same pattern, which was, “Make cuts now, consult with citizens later”.
Unfortunately, the sense of déjà vu seems to be setting in with the situation surrounding the Charlotte County Hospital (CCH) in St. Stephen. The uncertainty, secrecy, and lack of communication of a plan for the hospital is alarming. Instead of having public consultations before decisions are made, decisions are being made, and then asking for feedback.
Furthermore, with the aging health care professionals that currently work within the CCH, what is being done to recruit and replace these phenomenal health care professionals? Without a transparent and collaborative plan of action for the CCH, the future of healthcare in southwest New Brunswick is frightening.
To the citizens of Charlotte County and surrounding areas, do not take the hospital for granted. Be diligent, informed, and active in the role of preserving the health care services within our communities. Once the service and care is lost, it will never be restored.