It is disappointing to look for leadership in a crisis and find the leaders have abandoned their posts. Healthcare is in a crisis on PEI, so where are Premier King and Health Minister Ernie Hudson?
Just this weekend I heard from an emergency room (ER) healthcare worker who told me that doctors and nurses are very concerned for the ability of ERs on PEI to keep up with demand. Health PEI leadership responded by saying things get busy in the summer and they already have a plan in place. When asked what the plan was, there was nothing offered or shared. This means ERs continue to face overcrowding with no communication on how this will be managed from either leadership or Minister Hudson who is ultimately responsible for the state of healthcare. This is unacceptable.
How desperately bad do things have to get before Premier King begins to demand accountability and action from his Minister?
We are all already familiar with the ever-growing waiting list for a family doctor. Some Islanders have been waiting for more than a decade! With recent departures of doctors who are either retiring or cutting back to a manageable workload, that wait list is exploding.
Obviously, we’re not going to fix health care tomorrow—it is a hugely complicated system—but there are things that we can do immediately that would have a real impact. As a matter of fact, one of the things the Official Opposition Green caucus has been asking Premier King to do is to allow health care professionals to actually do the jobs that they are fully trained to do. For example, nurse practitioners being allowed to work in our emergency rooms or allowing pharmacists to prescribe and refill certain medications so people who are looking for that very simple service don’t have to go to the ER.
In a crisis, leadership means being present and active. It’s easy to see the Premier out doing ice cream tours. It’s a lot harder to find him sitting down with our healthcare leaders, working to fix the health issues under his government.
We need to make a system which is more accessible to people so they can get the care they need, when they need it, where they need it. We need a system that supports those workers who are providing that care. Right now, we continue to lose those doctors and other health care professionals who are so critical to maintaining the integrity of a healthcare service that we all depend on.
By continuing to ignore the crisis, the King government is accelerating the potential collapse of a system already teetering on the edge.
Honourable Dr. Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA New Haven-Rocky Point
Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus