Health Minister says system improved since audit
P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie is responding to a study that concluded Islanders are getting relatively poor value for money spent on the health system.
The study by the Fraser Institute, a west coast think tank that supports less government intervention in the economy, ranked P.E.I. second last amongst the provinces. It looked at 46 performance indicators: including wait times, the numbers of doctors per capita and deaths after major surgery.
Currie said it is difficult to compare the services of small provinces to those offered by large ones, and noted the statistics used, from 2009 and 2010, are dated.
"Since then we've made some substantial investments, for example, in the number of doctors, the number of LPNs we have, the number of nurses," he said.
"Over the last few years we've doubled the homecare budget, and if you look at the area of primary healthcare we've made substantial increases in spending."
Currie added given the province’s small size, its health system will never measure up to other provinces in some ways.
"It's like comparing apples and oranges. We're a small jurisdiction of 140,000 people with a provincial healthcare system. There's a range of services that we do not provide here," he said.
"We have an out-of-province budget of over $40-million that meets the need of those services, for example at the QE2 or the IWK [in Halifax]."
New statistics showing PEI health outcomes from 2011 will be released in early March.