Top News

EDITORIAL: Health careless

Health careless

It’s the same story over and over again.

On Thursday, the province announced that the Western Hospital’s emergency department was closed on Friday, re-opening at 8 a.m. on Saturday, and the Collaborative Emergency Centre was also closed on Friday and re-opening 8 p.m. on Saturday. The reason was the “temporary lack of physician coverage.”

Sound familiar? It should. The Collaborative Emergency Centre was also closed the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 2-4), but this time the reason was the “temporary lack of nursing coverage.” It was also closed on May 19, April 3, Dec. 29 to Jan. 1, Dec. 26 and Dec. 21 to 23.

These must be the easiest press releases for government spokespeople to write – all they have to do is change the date and the reason from “temporary lack” or “unavailability” of nursing coverage to “temporary lack” or “unavailability” of physicians.

If you live in the Alberton area, you have a few options – call 911 or drive 64 kilometres to the Prince County Hospital in Summerside.

What is it going to take for the government to do something about the Island’s chronic doctor shortage and nursing staffing issues?

Let’s hope it doesn’t take a tragedy to fix this mess of a health-care system that should have been fixed long ago – not just in Alberton but across the province, including the estimated 15,622 Islanders (in December) without a family doctor. The province currently has 13,993 people on its wait list for a family doctor or nurse practitioner. If you’re on this wait list, don’t hold your breath – it doesn’t look like it’s going to get shorter anytime soon.

Our not-so-newly elected government doesn’t appear any closer than previous governments to putting solutions in place.

It’s hard to believe that things could get worse. But with with 56 per cent of P.E.I. doctors saying they plan to retire, leave the Island or reduce their practice in the next five years, that’s exactly where we’re headed.

The timing couldn’t be worse for the P.E.I. government’s recruitment plans. Also this week, Dalhousie University medical school announced it was adding 16 spaces for medical students. But here’s the kicker – the added spaces are only for Nova Scotians.

This issue has turned into a head scratcher for Islanders.

We live in one of the most affluent countries in the world, and P.E.I. has one of the hottest economies in Canada.

Islanders pay a lot of taxes each year, and at the very least, we expect basic services, such as when we go to the emergency room at the Western Hospital and pull on the door, that it actually opens.

Recent Stories