For Immediate Release
August 10, 2023
NDP MHA Lela Evans (Torngat Mountains) is calling on government and the provincial health authority to address retention and recruitment of staff in the region and stop the erosion health care services in her district. This call comes after the provincial health authority reduced services at the Nain Health Clinic to emergency-only for several days but failed to communicate to people in the region including Labrador MHAs, the local Governments, the Angajukĸâk for Nain, or local media. Nain is the largest community in northern Labrador and has a large population of Elders and youth. Communities in the region are not connected by road meaning patients cannot access care in the next closest community leaving them to wait until the Nain clinic reopens, which is extremely stressful.
“Government must ensure that we have enough health care staff to deliver at least the bare minimum of health care to our people,” said Evans. “Any changes or interruptions to our health services must include local knowledge and be communicated properly for the benefit and safety of residents.”
Evans raised concerns when the Liberal government dissolved the Labrador Grenfell Health Authority effectively removing local autonomy and authority to address regional differences and local health needs.
“I feared that the loss of our regional health authority would further erode our health care – and that’s what’s happening,” said Evans. “I place blame at this government’s feet because they rushed to make these drastic changes without properly planning or preparing. The least we should expect is that they properly communicate when they are failing to provide healthcare services to us, but they cannot even give us that.
“The loss of Labrador Grenfell Health is already starting to impact residents on the North Coast of Labrador,” said Evans. “My concern when the province announced they were combining all the health authorities was that decisions would be made in St. John’s without understanding the true impacts to local regions – and that’s what we’re experiencing now.”
The reduction of services was a result of the failure to retain nurse in the region to staff the clinic in Nain. Evans says the government needs to offer incentives that encourage health care workers to work in remote Northern Communities, and retain them in the region.
“Nain is a tight knit community, and people are already not calling the clinic when they should because they’re concerned about placing extra strain on their nurses who are understaffed and overworked.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications at 709.729.2137