Get­ting back to nor­mal

Mur­phy con­fi­dent ser­vices will be main­tained at Western Hos­pi­tal

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY ERIC MCCARTHY

Al­ber­ton-Ro­seville MLA Pat Mur­phy says he’s con­vinced that if there are go­ing to be any changes at Western Hos­pi­tal they will be good changes.

Mur­phy, min­is­ter of ru­ral and re­gional de­vel­op­ment, made the com­ment Tues­day while the hos­pi­tal’s emer­gency depart­ment was func­tion­ing as a Col­lab­o­ra­tive Emer­gency Cen­tre (CEC).

The hos­pi­tal nor­mally staffs an emer­gency depart­ment with an at­tend­ing physi­cian from 8 a.m. un­til 8 p.m. and then it shifts to a CEC for the night­time hours, staffed with a trained nurse, para­medic team and an on-call physi­cian.

Late Mon­day af­ter­noon, how­ever, Health P.E.I. an­nounced that, be­cause of an un­ex­pected ab­sence of a physi­cian, the emer­gency depart­ment would func­tion as a CEC on Tues­day.

A Health P.E.I. of­fi­cial, al­though not avail­able for an in­ter­view, in­di­cated by email that the ab­sence was sud­den and ef­forts to find a re­place­ment physi­cian were un­suc­cess­ful.

Mur­phy said it was his un­der­stand­ing the physi­cian who was sched­uled to cover Tues­day’s shift had taken ill and the hos­pi­tal was still down two emer­gency room physi­cians, one for med­i­cal rea­sons and the other for med­i­cal rea­sons af­fect­ing a fam­ily mem­ber.

Mur­phy dis­putes sug­ges­tions that re­cent chal­lenges could be the be­gin­ning of a slow­down in ser­vices at the hos­pi­tal.

“We’re do­ing in­vest­ments at Western Hos­pi­tal with the dial­y­sis up­grades, with the pal­lia­tive care up­grades. The CEC model works well,” he said. “I think peo­ple are happy with the CEC, too, and it’s worked quite well for us to help main­tain our emer­gency ser­vices at Western Hos­pi­tal.”

He’s also en­cour­aged by the pos­i­tive re­sponse to the teler­ound­ing project be­ing pi­loted at the hos­pi­tal.

Mur­phy said the reg­u­lar emer­gency room doc­tor is ex­pected back within a week and he’s con­fi­dent the doc­tor who took sick this week will be back next week.

“Ev­ery­thing should be back to nor­mal in the very near fu­ture.”

SUB­MIT­TED

Pat Mur­phy

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