Hundreds gather in Souris to protest health-care services

Steve Sharratt
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Hundreds of people packed the Souris Regional School gymnasium Thursday night in protest of what they say is a lack of local health-care services.

‘For decades, this community has been bullied, neglected and abused,’ Alan MacPhee tells public meeting

SOURIS - If the provincial government thought the mouse was going to hibernate this winter, it was wrong.

Instead, the people of this eastern region roared back against the lack of local health-care services and applauded a proposal calling for a series of demands, challenges and even investigations by the attorney general regarding the equitability of provincial health-care spending.

FACT BOX: The proposed strategy

“For decades, this community has been bullied, neglected and abused,” insisted Alan MacPhee, chairman of Islandwide Hospital Access, during a public meeting Thursday night.

“And we are going to systematically make Health P.E.I. and the government change.”

With 500 people jammed into the regional school, organizers even had a film crew on hand to ensure plenty of footage was recorded for a planned advertising campaign against the province, and there was a big donation bag taking cash and cheques to pay for it.

The Souris region has been fighting health-care service declines for the past four years and was promised a full complement of four doctors when the Liberals were elected 10 months ago. Today, the community of 7,000 has two doctors and almost 2,000 people without one.

We’re not a leper colony. Don’t tell me we can’t get doctors to come to Souris. Alan MacPhee, chairman of Islandwide Hospital Access

“We’re not a leper colony,’’ said MacPhee during the two-hour meeting. “Don’t tell me we can’t get doctors to come to Souris.”

MacPhee cited the cases of two doctors who had to leave Souris in the past few years. One, he said, who was licensed in three other provinces, was refused a license here by the College of Physicians and another left after an original contract was altered by Health P.E.I.

There was no one representing government, except a Health P.E.I. official attending simply to monitor the meeting and gather input.

The fight by Souris (French for mouse) has seen placards at Province House and meetings with ministers, but this time the protest plan calls for the P.E.I. College of Physicians to be disbanded, requesting the attorney general to review the equitable distribution of provincial health-care dollars and even a request for the Cardigan MP to federally challenge the accreditation of Health P.E.I. and the funds it receives with Accreditation Canada.    

Organizations: P.E.I. College of Physicians, Health P.E.I., Islandwide Hospital Access Province House Cardigan MP Accreditation Canada

Geographic location: Souris

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Recent comments

  • pugadilly
    February 12, 2016 - 15:10

    Way to Go Souris PEI folks......!!! More Maritimers should speak up about their discontent with their Provincial leaders. Times have changed from the 'Olden Days' when the attitude of passivity was 'Oh, well, what can you do about it anyway?' This is a new day, & one has to make the governing bodies realize they work for YOU, not themselves with all the perks & benefits. Just take a look @ Nova Scotia Provincial Govt. & its dictatorship regarding Pharmacare increases to its Seniors, 200% to 300% premiums. Time to stop thinking you do not count! Step up to the plate & make your MPPs accountable. You are supposed to have Health Care......You deserve Health Care.

  • I. M. Spoiled
    February 12, 2016 - 12:37

    It is great to see how creative and innovative a group of concerned citizens can be when they work together to find a solution to a shared problem. This is exactly the same type of action our ancestors took when they needed something for the community. Here's wishing you all the best in your home-grown doctor recruiting plan. By taking the initiative and convincing doctors that your area is the one of the best places to practice medicine demonstrates ownership and responsibility. It has worked for many other communities so there's no doubt it will work for you too. Well done and all the best!!

  • Raise your voice
    February 12, 2016 - 11:55

    Way to go Souris. These issues have been raised by many individuals and small groups lately, but without acknowledgement from government. Now that whole communities are voicing concerns, maybe our overpaid, underworked officials and representatives will stop running from the issues and making excuses.

  • Islandlily
    February 12, 2016 - 08:45

    Well done Souris, glad to see a community step up together in such a number. Communities should take this door opener and get some answers while they can... take a look around. We are all in the same boat....middle class is becoming poor.... look at what life is becoming to those dedicated to a very special Island in a lot of ways. I'm sure Montague could take a stand together and question why there is no new long term care facility as promised.... mental health is on the decline, could one community push for answers in that area? Does everyone want a bleak future, with lack of empathy and compassion for their families who struggle already in a lot of areas? These are two strong characteristics to put forth when it comes to take a front towards health and the areas it covers........ soon we will be down to very limited or no healthcare altogether. Please don't let it get to that point..... thank you Souris for taking a stand

  • Jay
    February 12, 2016 - 07:52

    That opening sentence though.

  • Bravo!!
    February 12, 2016 - 07:00

    Great crowd with a great message! There is often a stigma attached thinking we suck tax money out of the system, and it would be wiser to shut us down. People need to realize that it is rural pei who generates the money which fuels our economy, it is time we receive our well deserved share.

  • Joe Doe
    February 12, 2016 - 00:12


    • martin
      February 12, 2016 - 11:44

      Must be a Liberal townie that gets his EI and sits home doing nothing.

    • IslandGurl
      February 12, 2016 - 14:20

      Would that "nice new school" you're talking about be the re-purposed 50 year old school they covered with new walls and called it the "innovative, new 21st century school". When they closed all small schools in our area, we were promised a brand, spanking NEW school, from the ground up. Well, what we have been given sure as heck ain't that. Freezing in winter because the heating system malfunctioned, no water for periods of time throughout the year. Souris gets promised many things by our government, they just don't deliver. One thing still (well, partially) functioning is our hospital. If it gets closed, it would take an ambulance at least one hour to take someone from East Point to the closest hospital. For that person having a heart attack or stroke time is of the essence. We will not take this sitting down. It's a resource we need and we'll fight to the bone to keep it.