December 20th, 2017

Cape Breton youth deserve equal care to children in Halifax

Tammy Martin raises concerns about access to mental health care

Sydney – NDP spokesperson for Health Tammy Martin is raising concerns about access to mental health care for youth in Cape Breton after today’s NSHA announcement that emergency rooms will consult by phone with child and adolescent psychiatrists at the IWK.

“It is unacceptable that our children and youth in Cape Breton who require mental health services cannot get the same care as children and youth in Halifax,” said Martin who is also the MLA for Cape Breton Centre. “Patients here should be able to see a doctor at our hospitals, not have to rely on telephone calls with the IWK.”

Wait times in Cape Breton are significantly longer than in Halifax. Children and youth wait over 160 days in Sydney for mental health services compared to 110 days in Halifax. In November, an internal memo revealed that while Cape Breton should have 16 psychiatrists, they have been operating with only seven full-time psychiatrists and one part-time psychiatrist.

“Families waiting for mental health services are in a crisis, but the Liberal government continues to ignore their needs,” said Martin. “We need a government that is prepared to offer solutions, not bury their heads in the sand as the Liberals have done.”

The NSHA said the changes will take effect Jan. 2, 2018 for children and youth under 19.

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