Alberton ER not being sabotaged: Health P.E.I.

Ryan Ross
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Conservative MLA accuses government of hiring doctors who won't work ER hours

Western Hospital in Alberton

The provincial government isn't trying to sabotage emergency room service in Alberton by hiring doctors who won't work there, says Health P.E.I.'s acting CEO.

Dr. Richard Wedge was responding to comments from opposition MLA Hal Perry, who accused the government of deliberately hiring doctors who are unwilling to work emergency room hours.

Wedge said that's not the case.

"Obviously, Health P.E.I. is not hiring physicians to shut down the Western Hospital emergency department," Wedge said.

"We're interested in having sustainable health-care services for West Prince and the idea that we'd try and sabotage the system ourself is ludicrous."

Western Hospital's emergency room has seen sporadic closures in recent months due to a doctor shortage.

Those closures include 11 days in January during which the emergency department will be closed overnight, along with a Jan. 13 closure for a full 24 hours.

In a news release, Perry said the government shut down emergency services in O'Leary and West Prince residents were seeing the same erosion of services in Alberton.

"Residents from all over West Prince, including Tignish, O'Leary and Alberton, are now forced to go to Summerside, which is putting additional stress on the emergency room system at that hospital," Perry said.

"Obviously, Health P.E.I. is not hiring physicians to shut down the Western Hospital emergency department," Dr. Richard Wedge

He also said Health P.E.I. has a deliberate strategy to close emergency services at Western Hospital.

"This government is deliberately sabotaging the operations of the Alberton emergency room service by hiring physicians who they know are not qualified or willing to work in an emergency room setting as part of their strategy to shut down these services to West Prince residents," he said.

Wedge said he wasn't aware of any plans to close the emergency department permanently and Health P.E.I. has been continuously working on the issue, including bringing in locums so there won't be as many closures in February as there will be this month.

"We knew this situation was developing and we've been talking to the physicians there and reworking their schedules to try and maintain as much service as we can in order to keep the service sustainable in West Prince," he said.


Organizations: Health P.E.I., Western Hospital

Geographic location: Alberton, West Prince, Tignish Summerside

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Recent comments

  • we only need four hospitals
    January 09, 2013 - 13:38

    With such a small population only 4 hospital are needed across the island with walk in clinics surrounding these hospitals within an hour distance. Family practice doctors are not and never have been qualified for ER hospital service. No islander would work a 24 hour shift, how can islanders expect a doctor to accept these conditions.

    • Townie
      January 09, 2013 - 14:45

      I agree 100%. And that is what the previous gov was going to do, turn Western and O'leary into seniors homes and build a new hospital in Bloomfield, thus reducing the number of hosiptals. But the Liberals shot that down as soon as they came into power.

      January 09, 2013 - 15:50

      Where should the four hospitals be located? In your neck of the woods?

  • Ed Gallant
    January 09, 2013 - 12:01

    "Obviously, Health P.E.I. is not hiring physicians to shut down the Western Hospital emergency department," Wedge said...I'm afraid that is exactly what they are doing. Western Hospital had two doctors who were on salary and worked out of Western and did their share of ER. They have since left their Western practice and were allowed to open THREE walk in clinics on a fee for service basis instead of a fixed salary. If they were hired to work as salaried doctors, which is what the province wants as they say it costs a lot less, why were they allowed to open three clinics on a fee for service basis? From what I understand, the same thing has happened in O'Leary, with two doctors leaving their practice which supported ER service and have oppened a walk in clinic on a fee for service basis.If it was the provinces intent to get doctors working on a salary, why are they allowing them to go back to fee for service? The answer seems pretty obvious to me.

  • Pavement over patients is sabotage.
    January 09, 2013 - 07:12

    Direct and intentional sabotage? Probably not. However, it's a form of sabotage when a government spends well over 30 million tax dollars for a few kilometres of pavement that cannot be justified on anything other than patronage. It's a form of sabotage when a government wastes millions of tax dollars "investing" in corporate ventures without due diligence or any degree of acceptable accountability. It's a form of sabotage when hundreds of thousands of dollars allocated for rural development get "coincidentally" spent in Charlottetown, right beside a Tim Hortons and a Wendy's. It's a form of sabotage when a government claims to listen to the people, when there's absolutely no evidence to support that claim. This and more, my friends, is sabotage.

  • don
    January 09, 2013 - 01:42

    REALITY CHECK. then why are you here more bye bye. but if we are going to get doctors on PEI it will take the feds to help as whizzy "DIZZY" has "FAILED" with all his brains lol. so the PC's will try to bail us out NOT the LIBERALS.

  • Joe Blow
    January 08, 2013 - 17:54

    Well the first solution I have piet hein is to get rid of the Ghiz government since every decision they have made in the past 2 years at least, has been a joke and gone completely against the wishes of Islander tax payers. And second of all....I'm not a Tory supporter either. The Tories are just barely better than the Liberals when it comes to running the province....but I don't support them. Right now I'm supporting the NDP because I think they deserve a shot at running the province. I vote for the party that has Islanders concerns at heart and the party that knows how to keep a promise they they made to Islanders. I don't like liars and I don't like corruption, which is why I'm not a Liberal supporter. Maybe if Ghiz and his government didnt spend all their time ruining rural PEI....they'd be able to find doctors that would want to go to those parts of the Island. All I want is for Ghiz to treat all Islanders the same, not cater to his snobs in Charlottetown. We all pay taxes here on PEI....we all deserve the fair treatment.

    • and
      January 08, 2013 - 22:37

      Ok, by your logic it's only fair that the Charlottetown area gets a lot more money than rural areas seeing as the residents there pay A LOT more taxes. That's fair. Again you have no solutions, just ranting. I'd like to take this moment to remind everyone that 40% of our budget comes from transfer payments (lol).

    • Piet Hein
      January 08, 2013 - 23:50

      Joe, you are still all words. You call the Ghiz government corrupt, but don' t say how it is corrupt. If you have proof that it is only in power for personal gain then you owe to all Islanders to offer proof. To say you think it is corrupt is not proof. So, every decision the Ghiz people have made have gone completely against the wishes of the island taxpayer. Name every decision. How did they ruin rural P.E.I. and how does that mean no doctors in Alberton? Do you see what I am getting at? You offer nothing but words and not a shred of proof. Again I ask why we should care one iota about what you post? Corruption is a powerful word that is thrown about by paranoids like you without any proof to back it up. I wonder if you even know what it means.

  • old saying
    January 08, 2013 - 16:36

    An older gentleman told me about this government years ago and said it something like,"death by a thousand swords to rural pei".never quite understood what he meant but it's becoming quite clear to me now.

      January 09, 2013 - 11:43

      OLDSAYING.. It's actually "death by a thousand cuts." The meaning is obvious.

  • Reality check
    January 08, 2013 - 15:55

    Perhaps doctors do not want to live in PEI or they would be here. Afterall if you are highly qualified and in demand everywhere, why would you go to a place that offers no perks like dining, entertainment or quality education for your children.

  • paul
    January 08, 2013 - 14:09

    Medical student spend many year and lots of money to be able to start a family practise when they finish medical school.Why would they want to come to PEI and work in the ER and other jobs.Hire ER doctors or is wasting money on unwanted projects more inportant than the health of the PEI people

  • don
    January 08, 2013 - 13:18

    if you all think that dizzy really cares about any hospital on PEI other then the QEH then you are totally brain dead. and as JOE BLOW said Health PEI is a joke company created by the lying Ghiz government, created by the lying for the lying. health PEI needs real people that knows what they are doing. how many in health PEI have papers that they are a LPN, nurse,doctor.?

  • Joe Blow
    January 08, 2013 - 12:56

    Then do something to back that statement up!!! Open the ER like it is supposed to be open, hire some doctors and put them in West Prince.....don't just say Health PEI isn't trying to sabotage Western Hospital or Rural PEI's healthcare facilities.....DO SOMETHING TO BACK IT UP!!! The Ghiz government is famous for saying one thing and doing another....and since Health PEI is a joke company created by the lying Ghiz government, we have to assume that the opposite of this article will indeed happen!!! Everything else the Ghiz government has lied to us about in the past has come to show its true colors....I'm guessing this will be the same. Some article in the Guardian written by the Ghiz government and his crooked Health PEI department isn't going to convince anybody. Do something to back this article up....don't just lie to us over and over again! Show Islanders that you have an ounce of morals and heart and do something to improve Rural PEI's healthcare.

    • ok then
      January 08, 2013 - 14:49

      Alright Joe, you find some doctors that are willing to work/live in Alberton. Not the gov't's fault no one wants to live there.

    • Piet Hein
      January 08, 2013 - 16:44

      Joe, obviously you don't have a solution to the problem because your post is just a rant against the Liberals by a staunch Tory supporter. If doctors don't want to work in Alberton then short of sending out press gangs to kidnap doctors and take them to Alberton no amount of money will entice MDs to go there. You are good at attacking government and calling all Liberals liars, but not good at offering solutions. Since the whole basis of your post is the premise that Ghiz is a liar and you offer no solutions please tell why anyone should be the least bit interested in what you have to say. You are not alone in this. Many commenters can only rant and yell at how terrible the Ghiz government is and what a bunch of thieves they are, but when asked for a solution they do not have the smarts to offer one.

      January 09, 2013 - 11:39

      @PET HEN... So smarty pants, since you seem to be the only one who understands this stuation,what is your solution to the problem? You accuse everyone else of just spouting off, what do you suggest we do since you make it sound like you put a lot of effort into analysing this problem. Time for you to put and stop being a troll.