Opposition mounting to ER closures and other reforms in New Brunswick

Hospital emergency department

There is growing backlash in New Brunswick to health care reforms announced Tuesday that include closing the emergency departments of six community hospitals overnight.

Dr. Hubert Dupuis, president of Egalite Sante en Francais, a group that lobbies for equal health services for francophone New Brunswickers, says the changes are irresponsible and will lead to the defeat of the Tory minority government.

Dupuis says he believes the Higgs government has decided that a life in rural New Brunswick is not as important as a life in downtown Saint John.

Health Minister Hugh Flemming says the changes are needed to improve care and address a shortage of human resources.

The Opposition Liberals say they'll attempt to defeat the government at the first opportunity and are seeking an emergency debate on the health reforms.

Interim NDP Leader Mackenzie Thomason says the changes are being made with a callous disregard for those in the affected communities.