© Guardian photo
Western Hospital in Alberton
ALBERTON — Prince Edward Island’s first collaborative emergency centre will open this evening at Western Hospital.
“Through the introduction of a collaborative emergency centre, we will be able to provide residents of West Prince better access to both emergency services and primary care,” said Health Minister Doug Currie.
This spring, government announced its Better Access, Better Care initiative to improve access to health-care services in Prince Edward Island. Among the initiatives was the establishment of a collaborative emergency centre model within the emergency department at Western Hospital to ensure both stable emergency department services at the hospital and improve access to primary care services in the area.
Under the new model, Western Hospital’s emergency department will operate as a traditional emergency department during the day (from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.) and will be staffed with on-site emergency department physicians and nurses.
During the evening hours (from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next day) the department will operate as a collaborative emergency centre and will be staffed with health-care providers like paramedics with advanced life support training and emergency nurses, as well as on-call oversight provided by an emergency department physician.
The model at Western Hospital is similar to the collaborative emergency centre model adopted by Nova Scotia.
For the past number of months, Western Hospital’s emergency department was only able to offer service 14 hours per day (from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.) due to a lack of consistent physician coverage during overnight hours.
Many emergency department physicians who support Western Hospital’s emergency department also operate a family physician practice in the community, making it difficult to offer consistent access to emergency and primary health care services to residents of western Prince County.
“This new model will ensure that the doors at Western Hospital remain open 24 hours a day and free up our family physicians, allowing for an additional 140 primary care patient appointments per week,” added Currie.
The overnight collaborative emergency centre at Western Hospital begins operating at 8 p.m.