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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes questions from reporters during the Liberal caucus retreat in Saint Andrews on Sept. 13, 2022. Image: CPAC video capture

PM Comments After Alleged Sex Assault Victim Turned Away From ER

By Brad Perry Sep 14, 2022 | 7:45 AM

The prime minister says it’s “horrific” that an alleged sexual assault victim did not receive immediate care when she arrived at Fredericton’s Chalmers Hospital seeking treatment.

Justin Trudeau was asked about the incident Tuesday while attending the Liberal caucus retreat in Saint Andrews.

“It’s unacceptable that a survivor be faced with that kind of response,” Trudeau told reporters.

“We know how challenging it is in some cases to deal with institutions, whether its hospitals or police, after that kind of violence.”

Trudeau said his government has spent an extra $72 billion dollars on health care during the pandemic.

But he said it is not just about putting more money into the system — it is about getting better outcomes.

“It’s about getting more support for those front-line workers in our hospitals who are increasingly ground down, increasingly exhausted, increasingly overworked. We need to give them more resources and better conditions in which to work,” said Trudeau.

“That is what we are very much engaged with, working in the province. Not because the federal government should be dictating conditions of work or allocation of resources, but because we need to be clear that Canadians deserve a system that works better than it works right now and that money will be part of the solution, but not the only solution.”

Margaret Melanson, the interim president and CEO of Horizon Health, told reporters on Monday that the sexual assault nurse examiner program, or SANE, is now under review.

Melanson said she understands there was a staffing shortage in the SANE program on the night in question

“However, the expectation and our Horizon standard is that there is always a nurse available within each zone during any period of time of the day or night for this particular purpose,” she said.

Each Horizon Health facility has several nurses trained in the SANE program, said Melanson. Although Fredericton has five, she adds none were available when the woman sought treatment.

With files from Allan Dearing


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