College standing in way of bringing new doctors to P.E.I.

Teresa Wright
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Prince Edward Island Health Minister Doug Currie

Health minister says accreditation process is too onerous, preventing some physicians from coming to P.E.I.

Health minister Doug Currie wants to make it easier for doctors to get their licence to practice in Prince Edward Island, but he says the college of physicians and surgeons is pushing back against any changes.

Currie says the accreditation process is too onerous and is even preventing some physicians from coming to P.E.I.

“This was raised officially two years ago, and I’ll be honest, I’m still very frustrated with the current progress,” Currie said.

“I feel that if we’re spending approximately $50 million for services out-of-province, and large volume of that money goes to Nova Scotia, I don’t understand why there is such a tedious process to license physicians here in the province.”

He said recently there was an emergency room doctor who was practising at a hospital in Ontario who wanted to come to P.E.I. to fill a locum position.

He eventually gave up after he realized how much red tape was involved in trying to get a licence to practice from the P.E.I. College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“He became very frustrated with the volume of paperwork and, for lack of better descriptors, process, that he just got frustrated and he put his hands in the air,” Currie said.

He says he raised this issue two years ago hoping for some changes, but the P.E.I. College of Physicians and Surgeons which has the sole authority to issue physician licences in P.E.I. wasn’t interested.

“There was pushback from the college, and there was pushback to me, but as the minister I plan to continue to push the agenda, to continue to raise conversations about ways that we can support physicians that want to come in to work from other provinces,” Currie said.

Alberton-Roseville MLA Pat Murphy raised the issue in the legislature Friday while asking what steps government has taken to try to fill ongoing physician in West Prince.

“I often hear of doctors that apply on P.E.I. to the college of physicians and they don’t receive a licence, and then you hear a month or so later that they are practicing in another province,” Murphy said.

Currie said he, too, has heard anecdotally it may be easier for physicians from other parts of the country to obtain a licence in Nova Scotia than it is in P.E.I.

That’s why he wants to explore ways in which P.E.I. could perhaps streamline its accreditation processes.

Atlantic health ministers are holding regional meetings in June, and one of the topics on the agenda will be a potential regional standard for physician licences.

“I would like to continue to work with the College in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to find ways as a region that we can be very consistent and very efficient with how we license physicians to practice here in the province,” Currie said.

“I want to continue to work with the College and find ways that we can be more efficient in licensing to welcome physicians who want to come into the province, whether it be a locum or to work on a more permanent basis.”

The Guardian attempted to contact the P.E.I. College of Physicians and Surgeons for comment on this story, but was told the sole spokesperson, Dr. Cyril Moyse, was out of the province and unavailable for an interview.

Organizations: P.E.I. College of Physicians, College in Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario West Prince New Brunswick

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Recent comments

  • Bob Macdonald
    May 06, 2014 - 07:15

    The real problem with our health care system is that people think it's free and it's not. It is very very expensive and growing at an alarming rate. Unfortunately we just can't afford everything we want. Hard decisions need to be made to bring it under control right across this county.

  • differ
    May 05, 2014 - 17:13

    We differ with you Townie 22. We saw that particular doctor and were not at all impressed. He was rude, flippant, seemed lazy, and a poor excuse as a doctor. That's our opinion and experience. Would never see him again if he were the last doctor on Earth. We are happy that our Island did not take him on a permanent basis. Quality needed.

  • don
    May 05, 2014 - 09:31

    i am guessing the reason why the board is saying no is wes will not spend HIS money to hire any more. remember islanders your tax money belongs to wes, your wages belongs to wes, he needs that money for the liberal family in 2014/2015. so why would he spend the money on doctors they have doctors so islanders can do with hat we have.

  • Quiet Observer
    May 05, 2014 - 09:24

    Quick Fix - take the power to govern away from College. They are protecting their turf. The door should be open to as many doctors, if qualified, as want to practice anywhere on PEI. And none should be on salary - all paid on a per client visit/case basis. Let them clean up their acts and compete for patients, then maybe we will all finally get some good service from the doctors, rather than be treated like 2nd class crap by them. Same concept should apply to lawyers and Law Society - a profession governing itself is proving to be a very bad thing.

  • townie22
    May 05, 2014 - 08:26

    i have to agree with the "old boy" club. i had a locum a few years ago who loved it here and wanted to move here and practice permanently, and the bonus: his wife had just graduates as a Cardiologist. she came down with him for the Summer to intern, and that was the end of that plan, the good old boys closed ranks on her, they left and never came back out of frustration. i bumped into one of his staff after he was gone who told me this, he was a great doctor, and now, almost 2 years later, i still don't have a Family Doctor.

    • concerned
      May 05, 2014 - 09:22

      and we so desperately need a cardiologist here too!! They would have been perfect.

  • Chester L
    May 05, 2014 - 07:53

    Well now this has been " newsy for the past 5 years.." thoughts on this point form for PEI... 1...We do not have enough we are told 2. Doctors qualified in other Canadian jurisdictions not qualified in we are told 3. Doctors are poorly paid in we are led to believe!! 4. Doctors have to many patients in some we are told 5. Doctors are not available to come here we are told 6. College of Physicans in PEI is the bench of final say in PEI..........old boys club.....clean it up 7. Has the Province got the back bone to take the College on or allow Islanders to be continually poorly served by SOME of these folks who run the College of Physicans........who is to be served first........who is working for who...........somebody fix this broken Agency for the good of Islanders first............ 8. College of Physicans some have suggested is a Closed Club and only a certain number of Doctors are allowed to work in PEI at any one time.......due to low wages of $150,000 - $450,000, so the Salary base cannot be shared........generous thinking if true.....nah that would not happen!!! What is wrong with the picture ??????

  • Elle Joraco
    May 05, 2014 - 05:34

    The fact Health PEI nickles and dimes physicians when they try to order diagnostic tests, is also a contributing factor as to why we don't have enough doctors here. The paperwork and red tape in PEI is ridiculous.

    • Tracey
      May 05, 2014 - 11:16

      The nickel and diming is no different in any p[rovince. Here in Ontario we now get a PAP exam only every THREE years!!!

  • don
    May 04, 2014 - 21:53

    it sounds like the college of physicians and surgeons is the same as irac a JOKE they want the good ole boys club. well doc's the health of the people that pays you the 100,000 plus a year is important. i'm sure if you went some place else you would be FIRED and known as QUACKS. and an opinion, ibc you are fully correct. who said the heads of college of physicians and surgeons is top line doctors?

  • M. Gallant
    May 04, 2014 - 21:21

    Physician qualifications to practice in Canada should be the same for all provinces . If you pass the test in Ontario or Nova Scotia, you should be able to practice medicine in any Canadian province. Too many rules and regulations only hampers the process of getting doctors where they are most needed. If you graduate Medical School in any province of Canada, you should automatically be able to practice medicine in any province.

    • yes
      May 05, 2014 - 09:50

      Such an obvious solution it hurts!!!!!!

  • an opinion
    May 04, 2014 - 14:13

    Is he trying to say that PEI leads the country in assuring we get stellar top of the line doctors? That our standards are too high and too qualified? That we only take on top notch doctors? Has he lived any where else? Seriously? Yes we have some stellar doctors and some have left as well. We have some who are probably less than stellar as well. I have doubts as to this being a reason that doctors of high calibre are avoiding our island as a place to live and practice. It is not that simple IMO

  • IBC
    May 04, 2014 - 14:00

    The PEI COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS , should take their time and make a nice list before hiring them .1st. Do you have Canadian papers ,for example are you a Canadian . 2ND. Were you educated fully in Canada / pass all required required training her in Canada. 3RD .Do you speak English as a first languages/ French . 4TH . Are you willing to work more than 3 to 4 , hours a day, 5 days a week , giving the needed patients on PEI ,a doctor than can depend on .6TH. One that treats patients a s a person not a number , rush you out the door . So they can get the quota in for their 3 hours of work for the day . 7 TH. One who respects you even if you are poorer than some dress clean put not to exclusive to name brands . Yes I feel out place and she makes me feel, do I really have to wait on you . 8 TH. Are you going to stay on PEI FOR MORE THAN 2 YEARS . Yes when I asked her , at my 45 minute interview . as she asked me many questions Then I asked, can I ask one question . I did and she replied I am not sure things can change , in 2 years . So you should apply some type of form questions for them .

  • The Walt
    May 04, 2014 - 11:11

    This has been a problem for years. At first I believed it was just an attempt to protect Islanders from substandard medical schools in other countries. I now believe it is mostly a bunch of old boys trying to protect their turf. We need doctors, our family doctors are not young as are many doctors in this province. We need change the process. The government has legislative power, fix it.

    • Observer
      May 04, 2014 - 16:14

      The Walt: I think you are right. In fact I believe this goes on all over the country. They want to protect a highly profitable business, and hang the consequences. Same thing with the business of malpractice - the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario will VERY rarely convict or even discipline one of their own. Protectionism at its worst.

  • Betty boop
    May 04, 2014 - 10:03

    We're backwards as usual!

  • Squirrel
    May 04, 2014 - 09:20

    I totally agree with Minister Currie on this issue.I served on a hospital board in another lifetime & I couldn't believe what was happening. The tail was wagging the dog - for sure. Doctors don't want to many Doctors on the Island as it may affect their bargaining power. ( ie salaries ) Sad, Sad, Sad To be that smart yet so selfish !

  • Fed up
    May 04, 2014 - 09:02

    Currie...totally Liberal. BLAME SOMEONE ELSE for your sloppy work! Talk to the doctors! It's one else! Who decided we don't need two vascular surgeons? Ghiz , Currie and their puppets!

    • huh
      May 04, 2014 - 14:34

      The government is at fault! And not just the government, its the party "I" don't vote for! They're the problem! Blah blah blah. Ever get tired of writing a comment that has been made a 1000 times over? You don't even have to understand the issue (or read the article for that matter) just write "the government is inept" and you're done.

  • jim
    May 04, 2014 - 07:23

    put this story beside the recent news about the health care salary budget being some 60 million over. i'd protect my overtime too if i could

  • Cromwell
    May 04, 2014 - 06:53

    I can only assume that Mr. Currie is trying to lower the standards set by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, so as to attract less competent medical practitioners to PEI. I sincerely hope that the College sticks to its guns on this. We have seen the impact of bringing less-qualified teachers to PEI has done. It is a pity that there isn't a higher standard of qualification for politicians, since, were this the case, would-be politicians like Mr. Currie would still be employed as assistant bank managers.

  • voter
    May 04, 2014 - 06:51

    too onerous !!!!??? LOOK at what we get when we take only a VOTE to get a politician -- the day that a politician thinks he knows more than a group of doctors is a telling one !!! Currie can't do his job so he blames all doctors !! What a joke !!! Maybe he should consult Macdonalds to fast track some foreign doctors !!!