Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Valley Health Scuttles Plans For 24/7 Emergency Coverage At The
Annapolis Community Health Centre

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, 16 September. - In spite of overwhelming community support and the solid commitment of local physicians and staff, plans to resume 24/7 emergency care at the Annapolis Community Health Centre (ACHC) have been vetoed by the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority’s Executive Committee.  They have decided to keep the ER facility closed two days per week.

Members of a local support group, the Friends of the Annapolis Community Health Centre (FACHC) are stunned by the news. "We have some 10,000 residents in our catchment area," says FACHC chair Wayne Boucher. "We have been working closely with Valley Health since last March with the single aim of restoring 24/7 coverage. He said, “Most recently we met with AVH staff on September 11 and found that they were unwavering in their administrative direction to keep the ACHC ER closed two days a week”. 

"The Valley Health Executive has ignored the express wishes of the community," comments Annapolis Royal mayor Phil Roberts. "And their decision is in violation of Provincial Bill No. 52, which requires that the Board's consultation 'must include consideration of proposed community solutions to keep open or reopen the emergency department'.

"We have the doctors. We have the staff. We have the facility. The only thing we do not have is approval from this Kentville-based authority to allow our health centre to return to 24/7 emergency care."

"24/7 emergency care is the key component in maintaining existing services at the ACHC.  Without this service the health and well being of area residents will be jeopardized.   ACHC with a restored 24/7 emergency service is an integral part our economic and community sustainability," said Annapolis County Warden Peter Newton.

No explanation was given for the decision beyond a statement from Valley Health Executive that returning the ER to 24/7 before the release of Dr John Ross's report (on emergency care in Nova Scotia) was premature and might confuse the community.

Ironically one of the NDP's most frequently repeated promises before the last election was to not close emergency-rooms. "Now that they're in power, we're asking them to step up and keep that promise," says Boucher.

The Friends are seeking the advisement of our community in advocating for 24/7 ER at a meeting at King's Theatre, Annapolis Royal, at 7 pm on 14 October - all are welcome.

 

FOR BROADCAST USE:
The Emergency Room in Annapolis Royal will not re-open 24/7 this fall as expected. Annapolis Valley District Health Authority Executive Committee confirmed their decision to keep the facility closed Tuesdays and Thursdays despite the availability of additional physicians to cover the additional shifts. 

The decision has angered members of the Friends of ACHC, a local support group, and frustrated physicians at the facility.  Friends of ACHC Chairman Wayne Boucher, who has been working closely with Valley Health Executives since March, expressed dismay.  Annapolis Royal Mayor Phil Roberts condemned the decision citing the fact that the health authority has ignored its mandate to consider community solutions to re-open the emergency department.

Valley Health Executives offered no explanation for their decision beyond a statement that returning the Emergency Room to 24/7 before the release of Dr John Ross’s report on emergency care in Nova Scotia was premature and might confuse the community.

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This site has been created by the Friends of ACHC who are a concerned group of citizens working with the Annapolis West Health Foundation (AWHF), Annapolis Community Health Centre Auxiliary (ACHC Aux) and the Town of Annapolis Royal.

Volunteer participation and public comments are welcome, please contact us at: