August 17th, 2022

Health Care Worse for Families Following Houston’s First Year

SYDNEY – As Tim Houston celebrates his election anniversary, people who need health care are being told to wait. Today, more families are without a family doctor, more people are leaving the ER without being seen, surgery wait times are longer and people are being forced to pay out of pocket for care they need. Every day families can’t afford to wait any longer, they need help now.

Ellen Bryden, a resident of Glace Bay, recently spent $2000 to help her mother get the health care she needed. Bryden had to pay for gas and hotels and rent a car to make sure her mother got an emergency eye operation that could only be done in Halifax.

“I know this isn’t just a problem for my mother, lots of people are struggling to get the health care they need, especially where travel is required to access that care. With the higher cost of gas and hotels it creates an even bigger burden,” said Bryden. “People need easier access to health care and there might be any number of ways for the government to ensure they have this access."

People are feeling more and more left on their own to figure out how to get the care they need, with one person in Lochaber recently reporting having to pay a private clinic in order to get the results of a mammogram.

“When I talk to people here in Cape Breton and across the province, health care is top of mind for everyone,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “There have been so many stories of people waiting months for the care they need, or having to pay out of pocket either to travel for care or to be seen at a private clinic. Tim Houston’s choices aren’t working for people, waits have gotten longer, the distance and cost to travel for care have increased, or people simply can’t get care at all.”

In the last 12 months, health care has gotten worse. Almost 10,000 people in the Eastern Zone left the emergency department without being seen last year, an increase of 47 percent from the year before. As of August 1, there are 11,196 Cape Bretoners on the waitlist for a family doctor - up from 8,673 in August 2021.