P.E.I.'s new 811 telehealth service has been receiving more calls than expected, and that's led to some complaints about delays in getting a response.

Marilyn Barrett

Marilyn Barrett says the initial high volume of calls to the 811 telehealth service came as a surprise. (CBC)

Health PEI says it planned for 40 to 60 calls a day, but the first week an average of 70 Islanders daily called for health advice from a registered nurse.

If a nurse isn't available immediately, and the issue isn't urgent, people are told they'll get a call back.

One person told CBC News they waited four hours for a call back.

"It is a little bit surprising. I think that's unusual from what I understand in any of our negotiations," said Marilyn Barrett, director of primary care networks for Health PEI.

Barrett said McKesson Canada, the company that operates the service in Nova Scotia, has adjusted staffing.

"I do know that the evening is the busiest time for 811; that's when they have the most staff on," said Barrett.

Barrett said Health PEI has an agreement with McKesson Canada that people will speak to a registered nurse within 45 minutes 80 per cent of the time.

She said this week call volumes are down to what was expected.