Rising costs are forcing the government of St. Pierre to look at shifting health care for its residents to Moncton New Brunswick from St. John’s, according to Radio Canada.
The cost of having St. Pierrais treated by Eastern Health has risen 75% since 2010 despite a decrease in the number of people from St. Pierre and Miquelon seeking treatment in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Costs aren’t the only issue. Eastern Health has only two translators to help St. Pierrais admitted to Eastern Health hospitals for treatment. On top of that, the regional health authority is also not adept at identifying bilingual staff and making them available to treat the mostly unilingual French patients from the islands off the southern coast of Newfoundland.
Radio Canada notes concerns in the local business community at the loss of St. Pierrais coming to St. John’s for treatment. Money that would be spent in St. John’s is now going to Moncton and Halifax, according to Stephanie Bowring, an economic development officer with the Newfoundland and Labrador Francophone Economic Development Network St. John’s.
The francophone federation is also concerned about the potential decline of French language service at Eastern Health.
Health minister Steve Kent told Radio Canada that the increased costs were due to inflationary pressures. Kent said it made sense to suggest Eastern Health could provide bilingual staff when French patients seek care but doubted that it would be possible to provide bilingual care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.