April 21, 2003
For immediate release
Souris Hospital Temporary Closure of Emergency Room Services
Health and Social Services
"Effective 8 a.m., Tuesday, April 22, until 8 a.m., Friday, April 25, Souris Hospital will not be offering emergency room coverage," said Ms. Fraser. "Anyone requiring emergency medical attention will be able to access this care at either the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown or the Kings County Memorial Hospital in Montague."
Kings County EMS Ambulance Service will station an ambulance at the Souris Hospital throughout the period of temporary closure for emergency transport. The Souris Family Health Centre, located in the lower level, will continue to operate with normal hours.
Physician shortages have resulted in difficulties ensuring 24-hour, on-call emergency coverage. On some occasions, Souris Hospital is reduced to one physician, which is the case this week.
Ms. Fraser praised Dr. Steve O'Brien and Dr. Ambrose Kennedy for their dedication and commitment to the residents of the Souris area.
"The physician shortage has often necessitated longer wait times for patients as well as added responsibilities for the physicians," said Ms. Fraser. "We appreciate the work these two physicians have been doing, and we want to thank the people of Souris and surrounding areas for their patience and tolerance during this difficult situation."
"We have been very fortunate to secure locum coverage on a part-time basis. Dr. Wade Kean from Shediac, New Brunswick and Dr. Adel Nakhla from Toronto, Ontario have provided consistent part-time coverage for the last several months."
Ms. Fraser says Kings Region Health recognizes that the locum arrangement only partially meets the needs of the residents of the area, and that efforts are continuing to recruit permanent physicians.
Negotiations are underway with a physician who is currently practicing in another province and has expressed interest in relocating to Prince Edward Island. A site visit has been scheduled for early May to closely assess the Souris position and other vacancies in the province.
"The decision to close emergency services was only made once all other options were exhausted," said Ms. Fraser. "However, we will continue to seek locum coverage for one or more of the three days next week."