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Islanders will be provided with the services they need, says Health Minister Doug Currie. (Province of P.E.I.)

With the retirement of one its two oncologists at the end of this month, P.E.I. will be looking to locums to fill positions through the summer and possibly into the fall.

The province's normal complement of oncologists, doctors who prescribe and supervise treatment for cancer patients, is three. The province hasn't been at its full complement since 2011.

A spokesperson for the Health Department says interviews are now being conducted to fill the vacancies.

The Canadian Cancer Society says the shortage of oncologists has increased wait times for cancer patients, and it's calling for a change in the recruitment strategy.

In the legislature Wednesday, Opposition Whip James Aylward repeatedly asked Health Minister Doug Currie if the province would pay for the costs associated with having to travel out of province for treatment.

"We certainly do not want to be in that situation," Currie responded.

"We recognize when Islanders need health care - whether in  Tignish, Souris, Charlottetown, Summerside, Alberton - they're going to get it. And we also recognize that if they need specialty services, Madame Speaker - like vascular, cardiac care, neurosurgery - we provide it as well."

While Currie said the province would ensure Islanders get cancer treatment off Island if needed, he did not say whether the government would pay for the travel costs.