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Province should pay for private physiotherapy, says P.E.I. PC MLA

PC MLA Sidney MacEwen
PC MLA Sidney MacEwen - Mitsuki Mori

Sidney MacEwen raised the issue during the fall session of the legislative assembly

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The province should be paying for the private physiotherapy services Islanders would otherwise be receiving at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), says an Opposition MLA.

PC MLA Sidney MacEwen said he was surprised to hear about a reduction in physiotherapy services at the QEH following difficulties in recruitment efforts.

For now, physiotherapy services at the QEH will focus on patients with more complicated orthopedic and neurological conditions, while those assessed as urgent and semi-urgent will be referred to pre-approved private physiotherapy services.

MacEwen said anyone who would have been covered in-house at the QEH should also be covered by the province at a private clinic.

“That’s what we should be doing when we’re pushing them off to private services,” said MacEwen, who raised the issue of a physiotherapist shortage during a November question period in the provincial legislature. “It’s disappointing nothing has been done in the meantime to fix it.”

MacEwen said partnering with private physiotherapists was an obvious solution, noting that the province partnered with private practice psychologists last year in order to reduce the backlog of a waiting list for student psychological assessments.

However, he said it was frustrating to see the situation get to the point of reduced services and described the shortage of physiotherapists as having a “snowball effect.”

“We wait here until after the crisis happens (before it’s addressed) . . . ,” said MacEwen. “They’re not getting physiotherapy services in-house at the QEH, the length of stays are longer and it adds extra costs to the health-care system.”

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