Following is a letter directed to Health and Community Services Minister Paul Oram to be included in The Pilot Letters to the Editor:
Dear Honourable Minister Oram:
I am writing this letter in anger and frustration over what is becoming government's justification for the removal of lab and X-ray services from Lewisporte. In a CBC interview on Friday, Sept. 4, 2009, you are quoted as saying, "It's time to put the loss of X-ray and laboratory services into perspective". "I think that the price to pay, to leave the area and go to Gander or Grand Falls just to have an X-ray, I would suggest is very, very small compared to the government's commitment to build a new long-term care facility in that community." This is not about compromise nor was it ever discussed. The investment in a long term care facility should no way impede area residents from obtaining basic healthcare services such as an X-ray. Both types of service are unrelated.
The residents of the Lewisporte area certainly appreciate the investment into a new long term care facility but it should not come based on the removal of basic healthcare services that have been provided for the past 50 years. If the removal of Lab and X-ray services is not about cost savings, why should a $32 million long term care home be justification for the removal of this basic diagnostic tool? The residents of this area deserve both. The redeveloped of North Haven Manor is essential because of government neglect over the last 25 years. The level of patient care has increased but government's investment into that facility has not. We are at a critical point where action must be taken and a significant investment must be made. This investment, however, should not hinge on residents willingness to accept the removal of basic healthcare services. We will not accept compromise.
The decision to remove lab and X-ray service is wrong and it's justification unacceptable. Please do what is right and have this decision reversed. The people of the Lewisporte area deserve better.
Rev. Arthur Elliott
Concerned Citizens Coalition