Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil was in the village Tuesday to announce his government is committed to the redevelopment of North Cumberland Memorial Hospital and will soon issue a request for proposals for a design consultant, which should be in place by mid-summer.
“It’s going to make a tremendous difference in our community,” Pugwash resident David Farley said Wednesday after the announcement. “We’ve been here before, but if they follow through, and I believe they will, it will be a big boost for Pugwash in attracting new doctors because unless you have something modern they won’t come. The community, hopefully, can continue to breath a little easier.”
With an aging community and the need for new doctors, Farley said the hospital is so important to Pugwash. And while similar promises were made before, he’s very optimistic there will be a new health-care facility in the community.
Tuesday’s announcement was the latest in the string of good news events across the province as many feel the McNeil government will call a provincial election sometime in the coming weeks.
The premier said the announcement was about renewing a key piece of infrastructure for Pugwash.
“I know you as a community have been working hard for this and I know how important your hospital is to your community, as hospitals are to the communities I represent,” the premier said. “Rural hospitals are an important piece of community infrastructure, not only for delivering key health services, but also for attracting and retaining health care providers.”
The premier said the province will work with the Nova Scotia Health Authority to have a final design in place by next spring so construction can begin by fall 2018.
The new facility will include primary health care as well as urgent and collaborative emergency care, laboratory and diagnostic imaging, inpatient care and rehabilitation services.
The premier’s announcement comes nearly six years after former NDP MLA Brian Skabar announced a new health-care facility for the village to replace the hospital that was built in 1966.