Rural communities hit one more time!

CHIPMAN: The New Brunswick Health Department and Ambulance New Brunswick, the company managing ambulance services in the province, seem to be more concerned about balancing their budget sheet than the life of rural New Brunswickers.

The Union representing the Paramedics, CUPE Local 4848, was informed today that next month, the night services in the Chipman/Minto/Grand Lake area will be reduced from four ambulances to three.

“Reducing the night services to three ambulances will endanger the lives of the people living in those communities.  The paramedics are the only medical services available at night in that area.  There is no hospital anymore and the community health center is closed at night.  The paramedics are the only ones who can provide the first response service”, explained Trent Piercy, CUPE 4848 President.

“We are especially concerned because we have a mill operating 24 hours, seven days a week in Chipman.  During the winter time, the roads in rural areas are dangerous and it increases the response time of the paramedics.

This decision will not only impact the Chipman area, it will have a ripple effect in the entire region, down to Fredericton.  When an ambulance will be dispatched out of the area, another emergency vehicle will have to be moved from somewhere else and so on. “

“For the last few years, rural communities have been hit hard by budget reductions.  If the Minister of Health wants to put care back into healthcare, slashing ambulances services is surely not the way to do it”, concluded Piercy.