Still no target date for SANE program to expand to Truro hospital

The provincial government appears to be no closer to expanding the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program to Colchester County.

In a letter to Truro Town Council, Health Minister Randy Delorey says a request for proposals (RFP) is being developed and will be issued by the Nova Scotia Health Authority to select an appropriate service organization to provide the program.

No information was given regarding a possible issue date for that RFP or when the program might be available at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre.

Mayor Bill Mills noted that the letter, read during Monday's council meeting, contained a lot of information which was already known, including current options for those who have experienced sexual assault.

He says council will follow up with the minister.

Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River MLA Lenore Zann was at Monday's council meeting and said she's also concerned at the lack of a start date from the province.

She says the last update she had heard was at the Nova Scotia Legislature last fall when the minister dodged her questions on the matter.

Two women came forward last year and said they were turned away from the Truro hospital after being sexually assaulted.

In October, weeks after those stories were reported, Delorey said Premier Stephen McNeil had committed to having SANE services in Truro.

He added at the time that the health department was developing a solution to mitigate current gaps in access in Cumberland and Colchester counties and identifying options to address service gaps in the longer term.

Zann says one of the women affected received a personal response that Premier McNeil would agree to SANE services in Colchester County, while other letters have received no response, including one from the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre.