Look­ing for change

Mon­tague res­i­dents dis­cuss health-care ser­vices in their town

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY KATIE SMITH

Ac­cess­ing health-care ser­vices in Mon­tague hasn’t been easy, and res­i­dents are ready to see a change.

Michelle Trem­blay said one way the Is­land’s health-care ser­vices can be im­proved is to look to at what’s be­ing done in other prov­inces and con­sider hir­ing physi­cian’s as­sis­tants.

Af­ter re­lo­cat­ing to the Kings County area from On­tario two years ago, Trem­blay and her fam­ily were given a fam­ily doc­tor last fall, only to have that same doc­tor leave the prov­ince three months later.

Be­fore their doc­tor was re­placed, how­ever, Trem­blay said her fam­ily had to travel to Souris for ser­vices.

With the doc­tor short­age in the area, along with the re­cent emer­gency room clo­sures at the Kings Coun­try Memo­rial Hos­pi­tal (KCMH), the for­mer mil­i­tary medic said the prov­ince could ben­e­fit from physi­cian’s as­sis­tants.

“As a medic, one of the things you do is be­come a physi­cian’s as­sis­tant at a se­nior rank,” she said, adding once physi­cian’s as­sis­tants re­tire from the mil­i­tary, they work across Canada and around the world and are “more qual­i­fied to do things than nurse prac­ti­tion­ers”.

The gov­ern­ment isn’t uti­liz­ing the other re­sources out there, she told The Guardian last week.

“If they opened up the doors that way, there would be a lot more peo­ple be­ing ser­viced for health care.”

An­other res­i­dent, Claude Red­mon, said the sit­u­a­tion at the KCMH doesn’t look hope­ful.

“The rate they’re go­ing, down the road they’ll be closed later on. It’s too bad,” he said, adding he wishes the waits to see a doc­tor weren’t so long.

“I don’t know why you have to wait so long. Geez, you go up

there and wait 10 and 12 hours some­times.”

Not ev­ery­one in Mon­tague seems both­ered by the cur­rent lack of ser­vices in the area, in­clud­ing Mel Camp­bell who said he doesn’t have any com­plaints. “It’s no prob­lem, works for me.” How­ever, his friend and fel­low res­i­dent, Noel Con­don, said the ser­vices have seen bet­ter days.

“It’s not too bad, but it’s a lit­tle worse than it has been,” he said, adding lim­ited hours and long waits can be im­proved.

Ear­lier this week, the prov­ince an­nounced changes in emer­gency room ser­vices at the KCMH, in­clud­ing re­duc­ing the hours of oper­a­tion for the hos­pi­tal’s emer­gency

room to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. start­ing July 1.

The emer­gency room cur­rently op­er­ates from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. when there is enough physi­cian cov­er­age for the emer­gency room to be open.

The gov­ern­ment an­nounced the changes in the leg­is­la­ture on June 12, which were in re­sponse to a string of emer­gency room clo­sures in Mon­tagues due to a short­age of physi­cian cov­er­age, in­clud­ing 13 days in June.

The prov­ince is look­ing to re­cruit two ded­i­cated emer­gency depart­ment doc­tors to work at the hos­pi­tal, along with other physi­cians from the area, who will pick up some shifts.

“The rate they’re go­ing, down the road they’ll be closed later on. It’s too bad. I don’t know why you have to wait so long. Geez, you go up there and wait 10 and 12 hours some­times.” Claude Red­mon

KATIE SMITH/THE GUARDIAN

Mon­tague res­i­dent Noel Con­don says there’s room for im­prove­ment when it comes to health-care ser­vices in the area.

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