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June 13, 2013
For immediate release

Minister committed to health care services in western Prince Edward Island

Health and Wellness

Until the Collaborative Emergency Centre opens at Western Hospital, the Department of Health and Wellness and Health PEI are committed to stable and consistent services for the community, says Minister of Health and Wellness Doug Currie.

“For the past several years, the people of western Prince Edward Island have had to deal with inconsistent emergency room services because of a lack of staffing to work the 24-hour model. This is not acceptable,” said Minister Currie. “For the safety of the residents of West Prince and our commitment to ensure stable, quality and equitable health services, moving to a 14-hour emergency room model until the fall is the right thing to do. I have directed Health PEI to ensure that all 14-hour shifts are filled.”

Since June 2, Western Hospital emergency department has operated as a 14-hour emergency department from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. That will continue until 24-hour emergency services are restored this fall with the introduction of the Collaborative Emergency Centre.

Temporarily moving the emergency department to a 14-hour schedule will allow physicians at the O’Leary Health Centre to provide up to approximately 500 more primary-care appointments to West Prince-area patients over the summer months. The number of available appointments at the health centre is expected to further increase after the CEC begins operating in October.

The department and Health PEI are working together to make the transition as quickly as possible but need to ensure proper procedures and policies are in place. The CEC at Western Hospital is scheduled to open October 1, 2013 but could open sooner.

As a Collaborative Emergency Centre (CEC), Western Hospital’s emergency department will offer physician-based care from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Care will be provided overnight (8 p.m. to 8 a.m.) by a registered nurse and an emergency medical technician (sometimes referred to as a paramedic), who will be in contact with a physician by phone.

Based on the Nova Scotia model, the Western Hospital CEC is intended to restore access to stable, around-the-clock emergency services in West Prince. It was part of government’s Better Access, Better Care announcement in March that also included two new rapid-response emergency vehicles 1– one stationed in Kings County and another in West Prince – and a new ambulance dedicated to transferring patients between facilities.

”Better Access, Better Care means improving access to health care in Prince Edward Island by keeping emergency rooms open, reducing patient wait times, strengthening our health care facilities and providing better health care for Islanders and their families,” said Minister Currie.

Media Contact: April Winchester
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