© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Doug Currie, health and wellness minister.
A new telephone health-advice system is now up and running on P.E.I.
Residents can now call 811 at any time of day or night and speak to a nurse employed by a telephone health company.
"Through 811, an experienced registered nurse will provide advice and information, help callers navigate the health care system and direct them to the appropriate type of care," says Health PEI. "The advice could include a recommendation to see a health care provider, to go to an emergency department, or other self care options."
The new system began early today and had 20 calls by the time Doug Currie, minister of health and wellness made an official announcement Tuesday afternoon.
"“By dialling 8-1-1 Islanders can talk to a registered nurse for health advice, when and where they need it, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Currie. “The 811 service offers callers professional health care support in the comfort of their homes.”
The telephone system and the nurses on the phone is based in Nova Scotia.
"McKesson Canada Inc. operates the telephone service, and Prince Edward Island is partnering with Nova Scotia to offer 811," said an information bulletin. "PEI has an arrangement with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, which has a contract with McKesson Canada Inc."
That is costing P.E.I. $200,000 for this year, and depending on how many calls it gets, will cost between $400,000 and $500,000 every year thereafter.
“The 811 service ensures callers get the appropriate type of care or information they need,” said Marilyn Barrett, director of primary care networks, Health PEI. “Islanders can feel confident that the information and advice provided by the 811 registered nurse is evidence based and reliable.”
Services will also be provided in French and more than 120 other languages including Arabic, Farsi and Cantonese. Those with hearing impairments can access the service by calling 7-1-1 (TTY.)