Be cautious of doctorless ERs: physician group

The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is urging P.E.I. to be cautious when it comes to moving toward Collaborative Emergency Centres.

P.E.I. considering Collaborative Emergency Centres after visit to Nova Scotia facilities

All Saints Hospital in Springhill introduced a collorative emergency centre in April. (Maggie Brown/CBC)

The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is urging P.E.I. to be cautious when it comes to moving toward Collaborative Emergency Centres.

Last week a P.E.I. contingent of politicians and community members visited two CECs in Nova Scotia. That province now has several centres where an emergency doctor is not on location at night, but available by phone. The centre is staffed by nurse practitioners and paramedics.

Dr. Allan Drummond, chair of public affairs for the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, said the province should be careful about the user of CECs.

"If you're faced with an all or nothing phenomena, which is a fully functioning hospital versus nothing at all, then it's reasonable to look at an alternative," said Drummond.

"But let's not for a minute assume that the Nova Scotia experiment has been tried, tested and proven to be valid when patients are critically ill."

Drummond said he wishes all communities with Collaborative Emergency Centres well, and that his group will be keeping an eye on how they're doing. He estimates it will take four to five years to determine how well the CECs work.

For mobile device users: Would you feel comfortable going to an emergency centre where there was no doctor?