Maybe the provincial government truly is committed to maintaining 24/7 emergency room coverage at Western Hospital.
Maybe the dozen times this month that the service is unavailable is an unfortunate abnormality.
Or it might be a precursor to what is yet to come.
In any event, it is good that West Prince residents gathered Thursday night to discuss the current shortfalls and to stress that they will not be satisfied with anything less than 24/7 emergency room coverage at the one hospital in West Prince that’s still assigned that role.
There have been larger crowds at hospital meetings in West Prince in the past, but weather was certainly a factor Thursday night with slippery roads and drifting still. Still, 175 people braved the elements to stand up for what they believe in.
Some assurances were offered during the meeting that government is committed to maintaining the emergency department, but one of the meeting’s organizers suggested community pressure was what brought about those assurances. Government is not quick to acknowledged this, but the squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease philosophy does pay off sometimes.
It is important for the region that residents are willing to keep fighting for their health care needs. They’ve shared some victories and some disappointments over the years.
What residents cannot overlook is that health care in West Prince is most important to residents of West Prince. If they want to keep their services they are the ones who must lead the charge. That includes demanding government respond to their needs and in making sure every physician who might be looking to set up in a rural practice is aware of the West Prince region and the opportunities that exist in an understaffed rural emergency room.