Why Rural Hospitals Matter

Date: 25 January 2022
From: Memramcook-Tantramar Community Task Force
Further Information: John Higham
<memramcooktrantramartaskforce@gmail.com >


For the past two years, ever since the sudden, initial announcement that Emergency Rooms
would be closed in six rural hospitals, the question of how to deliver effective, efficient hospital
care to rural New Brunswickers has been a hot topic province-wide.

Urban dwellers may wonder why the reaction to this closure has been so irate in eastern
Westmoreland County. For them, hospital services are available 24/7, just minutes away. It’s
simple. For some rural residents, an after-hours emergency trip to the Moncton Hospital takes
well over an hour, even under ideal driving conditions, and far longer in the event of a winter
storm. And many, including a large proportion of the student body at Mount Allison University,
have no convenient access to transportation.

Regardless of its name, the importance of the Sackville Memorial Hospital reaches far beyond
the limits of the town where it is located. In just a few months, once municipal amalgamation is
complete, the Sackville Hospital will be the key health care centre for Entities 38, 39, 40, and 41,
and a combined population of over 27,000 residents.

The Rural Health Action Group, a working committee within the Memramcook-Tantramar
Community Action Task Force, reflects this reality in the presence of members from
Memramcook, Dorchester, and Port Elgin, as well as Sackville. It is collaborating closely with
the Horizon Health Network to help recruit medical and nursing staff, to encourage innovative
improvements in health care, to promote community wellness, and to engage the people of the
area and their elected representatives in this process.