Questions By Members, 19 April 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Initiatives reducing health care wait times

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.

Part of providing quality health care services is being able to do so in a timely manner. In my district I’ve been contacted by numerous constituents who are being told they should prepare for a three-year wait before getting a family doctor, and there are many other areas of health care where prolonged wait times can contribute to both the progression of the disease and also emotional stress.

A question to the Minister of Health and Wellness: How much success have government initiatives had in reducing wait times in health care on Prince Edward Island?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, yes, obviously we try to work as diligently as we possibly can in the department of health to try to reduce all wait times for various requirements for particular – it could be surgeries, could be MRIs, could be wait times at emergency rooms, and in most cases we are well within the Canadian Institute of Health Information, the CIHI, statistics that they put out which is done by all of Canada to determine standard wait times for all different medical procedures, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your first supplementary question.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Indeed, some areas of healthcare have extensive and up-to-date data on wait times and we’re doing very well in some areas, knee and hip transplants, cataract surgeries, for example. But there are some areas where the data is very unflattering. Waiting for MRIs, for example, or waiting in any of the emergency rooms of our hospitals where you could wait for up to 12 hours or more some days for so-called emergency care.

Wait time data lacking

But Health PEI has no data whatsoever on wait times for certain services, for example urology. There’s no data on that at all.

A supplementary question to the minister: Is he aware of any other health services, other than urology, which are lacking the data to determine wait times?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Yes Mr. Speaker, there would be some medical procedures that aren’t under the CIHI guidelines.

But I can say there are a number of guidelines that we well exceed the guidelines. In fact, guidelines of CIHI for Canada, for knee replacements, in fact we’re actually the second best in the country. All within the 26th week benchmark for those types of services. Same with cancer. 98% of patients receiving their first treatment within four weeks of the benchmark.

Once again, I’m sure there are some procedures out there that might not have a particular guideline, we may not be able to track information, but once again, we will keep on top of those types of issues as they come forward to us, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your second supplementary question.

Evaluation of reduction of wait times re: data lacking

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Indeed we have data for most health services but not all, so given that there are no data to indicate wait times for some services on Prince Edward Island, how does this government evaluate its success in those areas when it comes to reducing wait times?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I can assure the hon. member that yes, as a minister and as MLAs, we are usually well-kept informed of any individuals that aren’t receiving what they deem to be prudent and appropriate care when it comes to appropriate wait times. I think anytime I get a situation that comes forward to me I refer this to the medical director to try and determine whether the proper protocols were put in place to provide that service.

But as the hon. member would well know, there are many situations where out-of-province procedures have to occur. We have to also work with our other provinces and make sure that they’re providing services to Islanders in those locations. There are some things that aren’t as easy to determine an exact protocol, Mr. Speaker.


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