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October 23, 2003
For immediate release

Primary Health Care Redesign Initiatives Outlined

Health and Social Services

Health and Social Services Minister Honourable Chester Gillan today gave an overview of provincial initiatives to address challenges within the health system, including the high rates of chronic disease, health human-resource shortages, increasing demand for health care services, the development of new technologies and pharmaceuticals and accessibility.

Prince Edward Island Primary Health Care Redesign resulted from a First Ministers meeting in September 2000, when the First Ministers agreed to make improvements to primary health care to ensure the renewal and continuation of health services.

"At that time, the First Ministers wanted to ensure that Canadians receive the most appropriate care, by the most appropriate provider, in the most appropriate setting," said Minister Gillan. "We are nearing the end of our first year of a five-year plan to develop an integrated primary care system on Prince Edward Island, and we chose this time to update our partners on progress."

Primary health care is the first level of care and the initial point of contact for a patient with the health system. Prince Edward Island Primary Health Care Transition Reform includes:

The PEI Strategy for Healthy Living A partnership between various government departments and partners to encourage and support Islanders to take measures to address the common risk factors that contribute to chronic disease (tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity).

Integrated Palliative Care A program designed to enhance client/family options for palliative care through appropriate access to trained, qualified health care teams in every setting.

Family Health Centres Community-based centres which bring together three or more physicians, registered nurses and other health providers working collaboratively with shared responsibility for patient/client outcomes based on assessed health care needs.

Tools to move these initiatives forward will include videoconferencing for clinical care and an improved drug utilization strategy.

"We must build a sustainable system," the Minister continued. "We have a responsibility to help Islanders take more responsibility for their own health, and we have to make better use of existing resources. As a government, it is our job to help Islanders who are looking for a new way to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Primary Health Care Redesign gives us the strategies and tools to do that."

The Prince Edward Island Primary Health Care Redesign initiative is funded through a financial contribution from the Health Canada Primary Health Care Transition Fund.

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Media Contact: Connie McNeill
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