New Brunswick reverses plans to close ERs amid backlash

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs abruptly cancelled a series of announced health-care reforms on Sunday, including the closure of the emergency rooms at six community hospitals during the overnight hours.

Higgs government faced a growing wave of public backlash after the health-care reforms were announced last week by Health Minister Hugh Flemming.

On Friday, Robert Gauvin, the province’s deputy-premier, quit the Progressive-Conservative party in protest over proposed reforms.

Gauvin told constituents in Shippagan-Lameque-Miscou that he will now sit as an Independent, dealing a blow to the Higgs’ minority government.

Doctors, unions and other health care professionals called on the province to reverse the changes which would’ve seen emergency departments in Sussex, Sackville, Perth-Andover, Ste-Anne-de-Kent, Caraquet and Grand Falls be closed from midnight to 8 a.m

But those plans are now over, with Higgs saying he will visit those communities to “hear from community leaders, the people delivering care and concerned citizens.”

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