Souris clinic closure concerns mayor

The closure of a health clinic in eastern P.E.I. for the months of May and June is very concerning, admits Souris Mayor David MacDonald.

The closure of a health clinic in eastern P.E.I. for the months of May and June is very worrisome, said Souris Mayor David MacDonald.

Last week, the government announced the four dialysis clinics in the province were being amalgamated into two and that the Souris and Alberton centres were closing.

"We've just been bled to death," MacDonald said. "People on dialysis, I mean they have two choices, they can drive to Charlottetown or die. That's their choice."

Once more doctors are recruited, the clinic in Souris will reopen, says Doug Currie. (Province of P.E.I.)

The clinic at the Eastern Kings Health Centre in Souris is likely to put a lot of pressure on the hospital in Montague, said area MLA Colin LaVie.

"In Montague, I know, I've been there, they're going to have wait times from 8 to 14 hours," LaVie

Health Minister Doug Currie questions if the wait times in Montague will grow that long, but he doesn't intend to downplay the problem.

"Any time there's an interruption in service you're concerned, because obviously you have services there to provide services," he said.

The issue is doctors, said Currie. The provincial complement for the Souris area is four, and currently there is only one practising in the town. That is simply not enough to operate the clinic.

In the legislature Wednesday afternoon, Currie said his priority is boosting the number of doctors practising in Souris.

"Everything else will be dealt with once we focus on getting the complement re-established," he said.

"For me to worry about what hours are closed right now, that can't be my focus. My focus has to be on filling the complement and then the walk-ins will be activated again."

Currie said negotiations are underway with two doctors, and he's confident there will soon be three doctors working in Souris. When that happens, Currie guarantees the walk-in clinic will reopen.