The Bonavista ER keeps closing. Every week these residents demonstrate against their “nightmare”

Each week a group of Bonavista residents hold a rally to protest the state of health care in their community.  (Darrell Roberts/CBC - photo credit)

Each week a group of Bonavista residents hold a rally to protest the state of health care in their community. (Darrell Roberts/CBC – photo credit)

Darrell Roberts/CBC

Darrell Roberts/CBC

The honking filled the air near Bonavista Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

About 10 Bonavista residents marched down the street despite the freezing rain, holding signs with slogans like “Honk for hospital” and “We stand together.”

Jessie Brown said the current state of healthcare in Bonavista is “a nightmare”.

“It’s a terrible feeling,” she said. “I mean, I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen it like this where you closed your hospital.”

Local residents have been protesting regularly since last summer, when the city’s emergency room was regularly closed.

The emergency room at Bonavista Hospital, which serves about 8,000 people in the community and area, reopened Wednesday after a week-long closure, but not for long. The emergency room will be closed again on Saturday.

If the emergency room in Bonavista closes, anyone who has a medical emergency will have to drive to Clarenville – 90 minutes extra travel time, and then conditions will be good. Other services, such as dialysis and chemotherapy, will also close if no doctor or nurse is available to run them.

Darrell Robert/CBC

Darrell Robert/CBC

Brown said she was concerned for her 80-year-old mother.

“It’s just the two of us,” she said. “It is frightening. For example, if she catches a cold, I’m afraid.”

Brown has considered leaving the community where she has lived her entire life.

“I really don’t think I’ll stay unless things get better. It’s too stressful.”

“The Church Can’t Work”

Joshua Kane, who also grew up in Bonavista, attends the protests every Wednesday during his lunch break. He said the impact of rolling closures is heartbreaking to watch.

“I find it really hard for our community when we have to stand here and fight for our hospital – it’s not good.”

Darrell Roberts/CBC

Darrell Roberts/CBC

Gail Brown, a Bonavista health advocate, is one of the organizers behind the weekly protests.

“All of our families and friends live here, and if you don’t have a hospital here, the community can’t operate,” she said.

The group is holding a town hall meeting next week.

“We want to know that people’s concerns are taken into account,” she said.

dress, hold

Rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador are struggling with medical staff shortages. According to the State Medical Association, around 136,000 residents do not have a family doctor.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed a new health deal that could see Newfoundland and Labrador receive an additional $100 million in health funds.

While Newfoundland and Labrador competes with other provinces to retire and retain doctors, communities within the province also compete.

Last week, the Bonavista City Council announced plans to offer land and underwriting bonuses to doctors who are willing to come to the community.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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