Dr. Nadeem Dada is the executive director of medical affairs for Health P.E.I. He says a review of the doctor complement in Eastern Kings has been completed.
©Guardian photo by Teresa Wright
A review of eastern P.E.I.’s allotment of physicians has been completed and a recommendation has been made on possible changes, but it will be up to Health Minister Robert Henderson to decide what happens next.
As for the content of this recommendation, Health P.E.I.’s executive director of medical affairs, Dr. Nadeem Dada, said he cannot say.
“It’s a recommendation to the minister, and it’s up to the minister and the department to advise us whether that should be actioned, or otherwise,” he said.
“What I can tell you is (that) it’s not unusual to look at different positions to see how best they can be aligned.”
The physician review in Eastern Kings began after former Health Minister Doug Currie asked for a full review of family doctor allotments across P.E.I. with the idea of redistributing physicians to better suit population demands.
The province’s physician resource planning committee suggested beginning the review in eastern P.E.I. because it is regarded as a pressure point with residents there who routinely call for their four-physician complement to be filled.
Currently, there are only two physicians working in the area.
A full analysis was done on the health needs of Eastern Kings, taking into account not only the number of patients waiting for a doctor on the patient registry, but also the addition of nurse practitioners in the area, the hours physicians must be on-call and other services provided in the region.
The physician resource planning committee did reach a decision on Eastern Kings’ doctor complement and has forwarded its recommendation to the minister’s office.
“At this time I can’t tell you (what the decision is) because it really is with the committee and it’s up to the committee to send its recommendation to the minister and the minister makes a decision,” Dada explained.
He stressed that Health P.E.I. is still actively trying to recruit physicians to fill the two vacancies in Souris and there has been no change to this direction for Eastern Kings.
Residents of the area are up in arms over the issue, holding a rally last Wednesday night that drew more than 500 people. They are calling for extreme measures to be taken against the health bodies that regulate and deliver health services in P.E.I. until Eastern Kings’ full complement of doctors is filled.
The Progressive Conservatives say the rally shows residents feel their concerns over health care services are being ignored by Premier Wade MacLauchlan's government.
“The community has been trying to work with government on these issues for a long time and they’re frustrated at not being listened to,” said Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie.
“If the premier and health minister didn’t want to come to Souris to hear the issues (Wednesday) night I can guarantee they’ll hear about them in the legislature.”