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May 1, 2012
For immediate release

New dedicated toll-free number makes it easier to register for a family doctor

Health and Wellness

A new dedicated toll-free number for the provincial Patient Registry Program has been established, making it more efficient to connect Islanders seeking a family physician with one who is accepting new patients, says Minister of Health and Wellness Doug Currie.

“Ensuring that every Islander has access to a health care provider continues to be a priority for government,” said Minister Currie. “Changes to the provincial Patient Registry Program will allow staff to better maintain the list of patients in need of a family physician and to match them with a physician’s practice when space is available.”

Islanders seeking a family physician should call the provincial Patient Registry’s new toll-free number at 1.855.563.2101 if they have not already registered with the program.

To be included in the registry, callers will be asked to provide general information, and will have the opportunity to provide further detail about their specific medical needs. Staff will then work to place them with a family physician who is able to add more patients to their practice as soon as possible.

Previously, the provincial Patient Registry Program shared a toll-free number with the Medicare Office located in Montague. As of early April, the program has had its own toll-free number and is now managed by staff under Health PEI’s Primary Care Networks program.

“The number of active patients on the registry can vary significantly as patients are added and removed from the registry daily and as physicians come and go,” said Marilyn Barrett, Director of Primary Care Networks for Health PEI. “The reorganization of the Patient Registry Program, in conjunction with the new dedicated contact number, will be more convenient for patients and physicians.”

Islanders are encouraged to contact the provincial Patient Registry Program if:

• they are currently without a family doctor and would like to register for one;

• they are currently on the registry list and their contact information (phone/address) has changed; or

• they are currently on the registry list and have found a family physician on their own.

6,534 people were assigned to a family physician through the patient registry this year. Currently, 94.5% of Islanders have a family physician. This data is based upon current registry numbers, which does not include people who are without a physician that have not registered with the provincial Patient Registry Program.

Information materials will be circulated to Island pharmacies, walk-in clinics and hospital emergency departments in the coming weeks to inform people about the registry’s new toll-free number and how to use it.

BACKGROUNDER:

Established in 1998, PEI’s Patient Registry Program was the first province-wide program of its kind in Canada.

The Patient Registry Program functions as a means to keep inventory of Islanders who currently do not have a family physician and match them with vacancies in family physician practices.

As primary care is usually the first point of contact between Islanders and the health system, in 2010 health centres were organized under five primary care networks (West Prince, East Prince, Queens West, Queens East and Kings) as part of Government’s commitment to building a sustainable health care system that shifts emphasis and culture toward wellness and primary care thereby reducing pressure on acute care.

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Media Contact: April Winchester
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