Currie faces heat from Opposition on dialysis care
Islanders need to be consulted before any more services are removed from hospitals, member of the Opposition said during Question Period Tuesday.
That comes after news that dialysis services would be centralized in Charlottetown and Summerside.
Opposition MLAs wanted to know how Islanders in western and eastern P.E.I. could afford to access dialysis treatment once it's centralized at the Prince County Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
"They want a government that doesn’t throw them under a bus. Dialysis is not only necessary to survival, but it’s time consuming and appointment times are very important to people," said Hal Perry, MLA for Tignish-Palmer Road.
But Health Minister Doug Currie insisted that dialysis services will improve.
"Today we’re committed to expand on services, I clearly stated that the demand on dialysis has expanded by 75 per cent in three years, Madame Speaker, with the anticipation that it’s going to continue to grow," Currie said in the legislature.
That explanation wasn't good enough for Perry or for Colin Lavie, the MLA from Souris-Elmira.
"Will you do the right thing and commit to keeping the dialysis centre in Souris and Alberton open?" Lavie questioned.
The Liberals have lost touch with Islanders’ needs in rural regions, according to Perry.
"Minister, seriously, what’s next? The ER in Alberton or perhaps the Western Hospital closed?" Perry asked.
Currie kept insisting that health care has to evolve.
"Tough decisions need to be made. It was their government that shut the emergency room down in Tyne Valley. It was their government that shut down the emergency room in Souris, Madame Speaker," Currie said.
Perry said the Liberals treat western P.E.I. residents as second-class citizens.
Outside the Legislature, Currie said there hasn't been a plan developed yet for the people of eastern and western P.E.I. who will have to travel to Charlottetown and Summerside for dialysis .
"I haven’t had any formal conversations about a plan, how we’ll do that, but most importantly our priority is to make sure we’re providing the service to meet the intense demand on chronic kidney disease," Currie told CBC News.
The Opposition accused the government of having a plan to slowly remove healthcare services, such as dialysis, from rural P.E.I.
Currie said he’s trying to maintain a full range of services, but that Islanders have to look at the big picture.