Yvonne Jones, Opposition Health Critic and MHA for the District of
Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair, says she is concerned that health care positions
are not being filled at the St. Anthony hospital and clinics on the northern
peninsula, recommendations that were made in the controversial Hay Report
compiled for government.
"This government has already shelved numerous
recommendations on the west coast of the province and stated that no
recommendations would be implemented without extensive consultation with the
public and health care boards. It now appears that several of the
recommendations in the Grenfell Hay Report are being implemented.
"In the Grenfell Hay Report it suggests eliminating health care positions
at the St. Anthony hospital and at clinics in various communities.
Currently, there are no pediatricians, radiologists or ophthalmologists at
the hospital; three internal medicine positions are vacant; one surgeon
position has been left vacant; three physician positions have been left
vacant, with another physician leaving in the coming weeks; one physician
has taken on the duties of three in both Flower’s Cove and Roddickton. These
actions are very similar to the recommendations contained in the Hay Report
and I question whether government is trying to implement these
recommendations through the back door to avoid public backlash.
"The process used to dismiss controversial recommendations on the west
coast was very bizarre. There has still been no official announcement from
the Minister of Health regarding decisions related to Stephenville or Port
aux Basques. It is for this reason that I am asking government for
clarification as to what is happening in St. Anthony and the Grenfell Health
Board. Why aren’t these positions being filled?
"It has been demonstrated time and time again that these health care
professionals are vital in providing appropriate health care services to the
people on the northern peninsula and southern Labrador. I cannot understand
why government is not actively trying to fill these positions, unless this
is part of their overall plan to reduce services and save money on the backs
of the people living in this region of our province.
"By eliminating clinics and medical positions, the consequences will be
devastating for people who require immediate medical attention. These cuts
will certainly place the lives of people living in rural communities at a
much higher risk than those living in urban and centralized areas. It is now
time for government to come clean and tell the people living on the northern
peninsula and in southern Labrador what recommendations have or will be