A doctor for every Islander, recommits Ghiz

Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz renewed his commitment of a doctor for every Islander Wednesday.

Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz renewed his commitment Wednesday of a doctor for every Islander.

Ghiz unveiled his healthcare plans in Cornwall Town Hall. The location was chosen because a new clinic is about to open in the town.

Ghiz has been heavily criticized for failing to follow through on a promise he made in the last election — ensuring every Islander had access to a family doctor.

Wednesday he renewed that commitment.

"Well, we're still on that goal," said Ghiz. "You know, bottom line is any political party that doesn't believe in that … what do they want to do? Promise we're going to have 10,000 Islanders without a family doctor? I think that would be irresponsible."

His plans include a new way to bring physicians to P.E.I.

The P.E.I. government currently buys four medical school seats every year at Memorial University in St. John's, N.L.

Ghiz said any Island student who fills those seats will now have to return to P.E.I. for a minimum of five years after they graduate. The new doctors won't be able to choose where on P.E.I. they can work.

"This initiative by itself will provide the province with access to four graduating doctors per year, assisting us to direct doctors to areas where vacancies exist," said Ghiz.

Ghiz also announced plans to invest another $2.5 million to increase the number of nurses and nurse practitioners

Ghiz said he'll continue to establish a network of primary health care centres throughout the province including a new one in Morell. It will open next year, and will include a doctor, nurse practitioners and other medical professionals.