MICHELE BEATON: Statement on the absence of Premier King and Minister Hudson as PEI’s healthcare system teeters on the brink of a collapse

A traffic accident last evening revealed just how close PEI’s healthcare system is to collapsing. With more than 80 people already in the ER waiting to see a doctor, a major accident required a Code Orange to be called. This meant an already overwhelmed ER had to pivot all resources to meet the demands of this emergency. It meant already exhausted healthcare workers were called back into the ER to provide emergency care.

Throughout the pandemic healthcare workers have risen to the occasion to provide lifesaving care for Islanders. They have done this while being understaffed, under supported, and under resourced. They have answered the call time and time again and they are exhausted. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, we continue to see no action or leadership from Dennis King’s government.

 

Healthcare workers, the PEI Nurses’ Union, and most recently an attending ER physician at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have been sounding alarms about the dangers to our healthcare system and to the doctors and nurses who keep it together. Those alarms have fallen on deaf ears.

As a result, family doctors are being forced to cut back their patient loads for their own health and well-being. Some have made the difficult decision to leave their practice all together. Since 2020 the number of Islanders waiting for a family doctor has doubled, and many are left seeking medical attention in our overpacked ERs.

Last night’s necessary Code Orange placed another strain on our exhausted and overwhelmed healthcare workers. Our healthcare system is teetering on collapse and nothing is being done to address burn-out and the shortages of physicians, nurses and other critical healthcare professionals .

Premier King’s recent cabinet shuffle shows he believes Minister of Health Ernie Hudson is still the right person for the job. Yet if you look at any aspect of the health file in the time that he has been Minister, things have only gotten worse. Unless the Premier and the Health Minister start implementing serious changes, we face a collapse of our healthcare system.

Premier King, it’s time for you to face Islanders and assure them you have a plan to prevent the collapse of our healthcare system. What is your plan for the new 8.6 million in federal dollars? Don’t tell us another story, tell us the facts. What is your plan? Islanders and healthcare workers must know now.