FREDERICTON (GNB) – Residents on Grand Manan Island who are victims of sexual assault and abuse will now have enhanced access to timely health services. An air transport service is being co-ordinated through the Grand Manan Hospital so residents can more easily access the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program.

“I am proud to be a part of this announcement today, as Grand Manan residents will now have access to the proper services in much less time,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Andrea Anderson-Mason. “Prior to this, a person who was sexually assaulted in the evening had to wait all night to take the ferry the following day. The victim could not take a shower, change clothes, brush their teeth or go to the bathroom. Then, after a ferry trip, the victim had to drive to Saint John to undergo the sexual assault forensic medical examination.”

Anderson-Mason spoke on behalf of Health Minister Ted Flemming.

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program is a comprehensive service offered to victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. This service includes forensic evidence collection, patient counselling, medical care and preventative care for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy testing. The program is available to adults and children who are victims of sexual violence or domestic violence.

“Horizon Health Network has skilled nurses available to offer the specialized services of a sexual assault nurse examiner,” said Geri Geldart, vice-president clinical and chief nursing officer. “Transportation options, like the air ambulance, combined with telehealth technology really improve our ability to deliver timely, safe and quality care to victims of sexual assault on Grand Manan.”

The air transport service is now available on Grand Manan. Victims may report to the Grand Manan Hospital where officials will arrange for ambulance transportation to the island’s air field. Atlantic Charters, a private air charter service based on Grand Manan, will then fly the victim to Saint John for an examination.