Hundreds gather in Souris to protest health-care services

Steve Sharratt
Published on February 11, 2016

Souris health

‘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,’’ 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.    

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

Strategy plan details

- Dissolution of the P.E.I. College of Physicians and Surgeons into a Maritime unit.

- Auditor general investigation into equitability of Health P.E.I. funds.

- Request to Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay regarding fitness of Health P.E.I.’s national accreditation

- Video advertising campaign against government