SUMMERSIDE - The future of after-hours surgery at Prince County Hospital is safe - for now.
Health Minister Doug Currie said Monday he will be moving for broader discussions within the health community to look the delivery of surgical services within the province.
Currie said, "I'm putting it back to Health P.E.I. and I'm going to work with Health P.E.I. We're going to work with the surgeons and the people who oversee surgery services in the province. I've told them to look at the whole discussion on overall surgery delivery and look at an integrated focus."
The minister said he wants a broader conversation undertaken with Health P.E.I. and the Provincial Medical Advisory Committee, which provides medical leadership in the province.
Currie said the recommendation to eliminate after-hours surgery at Prince County Hospital was just that, only a recommendation.
"The recommendation that has come forward is being pushed back," he said. "The surgeons are going to be very engaged and I want the Provincial Medical Advisory Committee to look at not just the on-call after-hours surgery, obviously there are issues around on-call pressures, but we want to look at a greater service delivery for surgery in general."
The minister said efforts would continue to recruit a third surgeon for Prince County Hospital.
"I'm going to take advantage of that time to go to another level with respect to the work that needs to be done to look at the overall integrated surgery delivery services."
The minister said he wants the get a broader understanding of what health services are being provided including upgraded and patient numbers for surgery.
"I've met with the Prince County Hospital Foundation and had some light conversations with the mayor (Basil Stewart)," he said. "This conversation has allowed me to get a stronger appreciation for the pressures on the on-call (service). My priority in this whole discussion is access to quality surgery for Islanders, from tip to tip."
Currie met with Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart on Monday to inform him that the after-hours surgery discussion had been taken off the table.
"Everything has been put on hold so that is great news," Stewart said. "He (Currie) is going to come up to Summerside and meet with myself and the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce president and the Prince County Hospital Foundation."
Stewart said the date for that meeting has not been set.