The leaders of the Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties went to opposite ends of P.E.I. Thursday to discuss the same issue, rural health care.
'We're asking for an opportunity to make our community hospitals work.'— Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz
Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz was in West Prince, in Alberton, accompanied by local candidate Pat Murphy. Both Ghiz and Murphy are on record as being strongly opposed to the PC plan to build a single hospital in West Prince, and close hospitals in Alberton and O'Leary.
The Tories are ready to break ground on a new hospital in West Prince. The Liberals want to give the current hospitals another chance.Ghiz said Thursday he would put a 30-month moratorium on construction of the new hospital.
"We're asking for an opportunity to make our community hospitals work here in this region of the province," said Ghiz, "and we're asking for 30 months to give us the opportunity to go out and make sure that we put the resources necessary into seeing if we can make these two hospitals work for the people of West Prince."
The Liberal plan for new resources for the hospitals includes a $1.5-million rural doctor recruitment program, and a new emphasis on nurse practitioners.
New doctor, seniors home for Souris
In the eastern part of the province, PC Leader Pat Binns was in Souris, where he faced the inevitable question of whether he would re-open the emergency department there, one of two his government closed during its last mandate.
Binns said he would not.
"The medical staff here, the doctors, have been pretty clear on this," he said.
'[The doctors'] position is they cannot adequately do justice to running an emergency.'— PC Leader Pat Binns
"Their position is they cannot adequately do justice to running an emergency department plus running their own practices, the clinics and so on. They would not be providing the service that people want, and it really goes back to them."
Binns announced a new seniors home for Souris, and said there would soon be another doctor setting up practice in the town.
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