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Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie
Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie is once again sounding the alarm over the number of physicians in his home riding of Souris.
He is calling on the MacLauchlan government to fill the physician complement for the Souris and Eastern Kings areas.
“During the election the premier committed to the people of Eastern Kings that the area’s doctor complement of four would be filled but there doesn’t appear to have been any work done on that promise since then," LaVie said in a news release Wednesday.
“When I asked about this in the house the former health minister said there wasn’t a need and that there wasn’t any recruitment being done to fill that fourth position. That’s unacceptable and I want the new health minister to follow through on the promise made to the people.”
The issue was raised in the P.E.I. legislature in July when LaVie pointed to a promise Premier Wade MacLauchlan made during the spring 2015 election that "a Liberal government will maintain four family doctors in Souris."
Souris currently has a complement of four family doctors, but one of those positions has been vacant for some time.
Doug Currie, the health minister at that time, said there were not enough patients in the area in need of a family doctor based on the number of local individuals on the patient registry, so Health P.E.I. was not actively recruiting for a physician to fill for that fourth position.
But since then, cabinet minister Paula Biggar recently made public remarks indicating the province’s patient registry may not always accurately reflect the number of Islanders seeking a family doctor.
She gave media interviews urging residents of her Tyne Valley riding to sign onto the patient registry if they are in need of a physician, citing concerns Tyne Valley might lose a similarly vacant doctor position.
“Here we have one cabinet minister saying there’s no need to recruit another doctor because of statistics from the patient registry. Then we have another cabinet minister saying publicly that the patient registry isn’t a true picture of the number of Islanders needing access to a family doctor,” LaVie said.
“Being from a rural area himself, I hope the new health minister recognizes the shortcomings of the patient registry and can get this issue dealt with right away.”
LaVie also noted there are no scheduled walk-in clinics at the Souris Clinic for the next month because of a shortage of physicians, which he fears could delay timely access to health care for local residents.