Addictions spending shortfall from vacant positions

The P.E.I. government underspent on its addictions and mental health treatment budget last year because it had trouble filling some open positions.

The P.E.I. government underspent on its addictions and mental health treatment budget last year because it had trouble filling positions, says Health Minister Doug Currie.

Currie was taken to task by the opposition Wednesday for leaving $1 million unspent in the budget.

Currie said it can be hard to keep positions in addictions filled.

"Some areas of addictions it's a little more challenging to attract, particularly nurses, to positions," he said.

"That does at times have an impact, there's no question, I mean you need to staff, you need to resource these facilities appropriately."

Last May Health PEI shut down detox beds at the the Mount Herbert treatment centre. There were four vacancies in the unit, including two registered nurse positions.

Currie said steps have been taken to address an overall shortage of nurses, including the introduction of the accelerated nursing program at UPEI.

The budget for addictions services has increased for 2014-15, up to $11.6 million compared to $10.1 million spent last year.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.