October 28, 2021 | Rural Health Concerns

Tune in here for updates on how our community is defending our hospital and health care system.

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to our Health Care Reform webpage!

The intent of this page is to keep the citizens of Sackville and surrounding communities up-to-date on what is happening with the health care reform process. These on-going initiatives are underway to help ensure we have a sustainable hospital here in Sackville that provides appropriate health care services to our community and region.

Please click here to see our latest press release from July 19, 2021 concerning an ad-hoc committee of the Memramcook-Tantramar Community Task Force, who will be tackling concerns surrounding decreased services at the Sackville Memorial Hospital.

Update from October 28, 2021

A n open letter from the Mayors of the Tantramar Region and the Chief of Fort Folly First Nations was drafted for residents in the Region.  You can find the letter here.

Update from August 20, 2021

The Memramcook-Tantramar Task Force has been meeting on a weekly basis since July and have been making some great progress. The Task Force has been working with the Province of New Brunswick and Horizon Health on a solution to the issues surrounding our hospital, including weekend ER closures, nurse and doctor recruitment, and Health Care Reform. Nursing recruitment has been a key priority in their efforts, and the Taskforce is working diligently on a strategy that would showcase the Sackville Memorial Hospital as a desirable place to work as well as promoting the region in general as a great place to live.

Previous Meetings/Actions

August 2021- Several letters have sent to Premier Blaine Higgs and the Minister of Health, Dorothy Shephard.  Here is a list of those communications:

August 17 2021 Letter to Minister Shepard from Regional Mayors

August 19 2021 Letter to Minister Shephard from MASU

August 20 2021 Letter to Minister Shephard from MtA VP Anne Comfort

August 20 2021 Letter to Minister Shephard from TCTF Co Chairs

Letter of Invitation to Blaine Higgs from Mayor Shawn Mesheau August 2021

July 14, 2021- A meeting of the Mayors of Memramcook, Dorchester, Port Elgin, and Sackville, along with respective municipal staff took place in Dorchester. The meeting included discussions surrounding regional topics, including health care and municipal reform.

July 6, 2021– A meeting with the Hospital Ad Hoc Committee and Mayor Mesheau, Councillor Dietz and CAO Jamie Burke took place to discuss an appropriate long-term structure of the health care committee.

Past Updates Available Here 


Here is some history on actions taken to date:

Shortly after the announcement last February of the planned closure of the Sackville ER, acute care beds and surgical suite, a Steering Committee was formed. The Steering Committee was a group of engaged citizens seeking practical solutions to the threats to our rural hospitals.   Accordingly the web page content was produced by those volunteers, rather than the Mayor or town staff.  This ensured its independent progress was well communicated to all residents.

Various events, including the Premier’s response to coordinated efforts often led by our Steering Committee, and of course COVID, slowed the Steering Committee activity.  The topic has re-emerged this new year with the appearance of long promised consultations with communities on health reforms.   With the province choosing Sackville as the starting location for consultations, and its clear commitment that the rural ERs will remain — reflects the effectiveness of our Steering Committee. For that, we should all be grateful to those on the Steering Committee and I offer my personal thanks to each and every one of them.

However, while rural ER closure is not part of this consultation, the province’s new process sets new and different challenges.   The process now requires both political leadership and input, as well as widespread citizen involvement in providing materials and views to the province on the future of public policy and practices in health care.

To address this change and to encourage broad participation from our residents, I have created a new web page focused on health policy consultations.  This page will provide updates, opportunities to participate, new information, and various notifications.  Items on this page will be coming from myself or town staff and will be updated as quickly as events dictate.   Its intent is to keep residents current on:

  • new information and recent local efforts;
  • ways to participate in consultation opportunities and;
  • related activities and notices.

As background to this change please find below:

1) Minister’s request of the Town for a health vision

2) Sackville’s Health Vision – Submitted to the Minister on December 30, 2020

3) Brunswick News Publication, January 15, 2021 – An editorial by two former Sackville Mayors – Pat Estabrooks and John Higham

4) Brunswick News Publication, February 16, 2021 – Invited opinion piece by John Higham

5)  Link to the health consultation schedule