Recent Near Tragedy in Bonavista Shines Light on Potentially Fatal Impact of Budget Cuts to Rural Health Care

For Immediate Release:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

ST. JOHN’S, NL– A recent near tragedy in Bonavista is raising red flags about the impact of budget cuts in health care for residents in rural parts of the province, according to Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) President Jerry Earle.

“According to media reports, a young man was recently involved in a motorcycle accident on the Bonavista Highway. When he arrived at the Bonavista Peninsula Health Care Centre for treatment he was told that they could not determine if his pelvis was broken because the X-ray services were closed at 4 p.m. due to recent budget cuts,” said Earle. “After suffering a major life threatening accident and with a risk of internal bleeding this young man and his family were told that they would have to rush him to Clarenville for X-rays. While the X-rays were thankfully negative, the delay in care for this man could have easily had tragic consequences. He is very lucky, but proper health care should not depend on blind luck.”

Budget 2016 scaled back X-ray services for many rural parts of the province as a ‘cost saving measure’. In Bonavista, hours were cut back to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with no call-ins for X-ray technologist outside of those hours. The cuts are meant to save only $90,000 per year for the Bonavista region.

“Accidents, injuries, and life threatening situations don’t run on banker’s hours. What this government is saying is that the people of this entire region deserve second rate health care,” said Earle. “When this cut was announced in the budget, we immediately said that it had the potential to put people’s lives at risk. And we weren’t alone. Councilors, mayors, local residents, and Area Chamber of Commerce representatives shared our concerns and joined us in protest and in calling on the government to reverse these short sighted and potentially fatal budget cuts.”

“You simply can’t put a price on people’s lives,” stated Earle. “Not only that, we aren’t convinced that this measure actually saves any money. In each case like this one, where X-ray services are required after 4 p.m., the government will incur costs on ambulance services to and from Clarenville as well as for the staff that will have to accompany the patient involved.”

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For further information, please contact:

Keith Dunne, NAPE Campaigns and Communications Coordinator

(phone) 709.570.2501    (cell) 709.631.9737  (email)