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Province looking for sexual assault nurse examiner for Colchester area

The Nova Scotia Health Authority has issued a Request for Proposals aimed at expanding the Sexual Assault Examiner Program to the Northern Zone of the province, which includes Colchester County.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority has issued a Request for Proposals aimed at expanding the Sexual Assault Examiner Program to the Northern Zone of the province, which includes Colchester County.
TRURO, N.S. —

TRURO — The possibility of a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program for Colchester County and surrounding areas moved a step closer to reality on Friday with a request for proposals issued by the Nova Scotia government.

“I think it’s a great move,” said Kendra MacKinnon, executive director of the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre.

“It’s long overdue and I look forward to seeing what the request for proposals looks like and what the standalone SANE program will be like in Truro.”

Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey had previously committed to expanding the program to the Northern Zone following public complaints from two women about negative experiences they had at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro when they visited the emergency department to report sexual assaults.

“And we don’t want that to be repeated,” said deputy premier and Colchester North MLA Karen Casey. “We want to make sure that if someone is in need of that service that they go to some trained, competent professionals who can take them through that, what’s got to a traumatic experience.”

Casey said she had spoken with MacKinnon and other local proponents along with those involved with the SANE program in Antigonish about two years ago regarding the need for such services in this region.

“We were talking about the need in Truro, it was very real, not just in Truro but to serve the central Colchester area. And they were anxious to work with the department to look at extending their services here,” she said. “Of course, there has to be nurses that are interested and readily available. And all of those issues that need to come together were identified then.”

Casey said she has also been working with Delorey on the issue.

“I just hope that there will be a response, that there will be a community group that will take that on, whether it’s the women’s centre or not, and that there will be nurses that will be ready and available to provide that service,” she said.

The objective of the request for proposals is to contract “a qualified organization to implement a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program based in the Northern Zone and providing services to the Colchester, East Hants, Cumberland, and Eastern Shore areas,” the Nova Scotia Health Authority said in a news release.

“The successful proponent will be responsible for the management of the day-to-day operations, collaboration with other SANE program providers and system partners, and participation in provincial initiatives led by the NSHA intended to foster program success.”

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