"Wade Verge acted like a sniveling coward" - Oppositon Leader, Yvonne Jones.
What does it take to have your elected member of the House of Assembly publicly humiliate himself! The residents of Lewisporte know - just stand up for the people who voted for you.
Earlier this week folks were applauding Conservative MHA Wade Verge for showing that he had a backbone by challenging his own government's decision to remove x-ray and laboratory services from the community of Lewisporte.
Verge claimed that he had not been told about the move until a few hours before the announcement. The Premier said that was not true, that Verge should check his facts. Apparently the Premier's own chief of staff had briefed Verge weeks earlier.
Turns out there was a briefing, but Verge now claims he did not understand what he was told. He did not think to say, excuse me but what exactly will this mean for Lewisporte? Either Verge is the stunnest fella to ever have the honor of freeloading $100,00o a year as an MHA or he was lying from the get go.
Yesterday he stood before a crowd of 1,200 protesting the decision and spouted the official line about better medical services at the brand new $32 million healthcare facility that constructed for the region. The crowd was left scrambling for rotten eggs but had to settle for a booing him off the stage.
With the prospect of a looming pandemic waiting to crash the beaches like a Category Four Hurricane, the logic to phase out local laboratory testing and x-ray facilities this fall seems a tad bit premature. This move is sure to make it even more difficult to attract physicians to rural areas. Other rural areas that currently have these services should get on the ball and start writing their local MHA's to get them on record as preserving these services before Minister Oram yanks them away.
I still have issues with a process where the chief of staff for the Premier is so directly involved in what is supposed to be domain of regional health care boards. If the time line as presented is correct, Verge was privy to information long before the boards or doctors knew what was coming.
Once again, let me reiterate, the communication, and politicization, of this issue is what interests me. I think it could be argued that with these services available in Gander, Grand Falls, Fogo and Twillingate that the region is well served. Is it really necessary to have them in Lewisporte as well? The distance from Lewisporte to Grand Falls is just 67 KM on the TCH. The ride to Gander is just 59 km. The region is well served.
It does not affect a huge region, or isolated communities. The hospitals in Fogo and Twillingate will continue to offer laboratory and x-ray services. Folks from these towns will not have to travel to Grand Falls or Gander. That certainly changes things.
The second point is that the volume of laboratory and x-ray tests that are currently processed by laboratory and x-ray services in Lewisporte may not justify the continued cost of offering these services.
So there may be lots of efficiencies and the Minister might be right about better services in the future.
However, I still say that we can not have enough services available for the anticipated wrath of the swine flu this fall and that the government might be wise to revise its time line on removing these services.
As for Verge, he does not have a mouth full of marbles, those are his testicles! At least Williams did not make him ride naked on a horse through the town with a T branded on his head.