PEI

Opposition concerned about patient wait times to see a neurologist

The Official Opposition said it's concerned about the current wait times for Island patients needing to see a neurologist.

Province confirms 1 of the Island's 3 neurologists will be retiring this spring

The Official Opposition is concerned about the wait times for patients needing to see a neurologist, saying that it can take up to two years. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The Official Opposition said it's concerned about the current wait times for Island patients needing to see a neurologist.

During question period Wednesday, Opposition Leader James Aylward said wait times for patients waiting to see a neurologist is up to two years.

"Patient wait times are a very serious issue. Question to the minister, do you consider the two year wait list for neurology services contributing to good patient outcomes?"

Neurologist set to retire

The Minister of Health and Wellness Robert Mitchell said the province is at its full complement with three neurologists currently on P.E.I. 

Mitchell confirmed that one of the Island's three neurologist is set to retire next spring and that there are efforts underway to recruit another one.

Official Opposition leader James Aywlard asked why a program that had neurologists from Nova Scotia working part-time on P.E.I. was cancelled. (PEI Legislative Assembly)

Mitchell also said two neurologists have taken leave this year, with one now back and the other expected to return by the end of the year. Mitchell added there is currently a locum who works part-time to deal with any shortages. 

No more off-Island assistance

But the Opposition said there used to be a program that would have neurologists from Nova Scotia come to P.E.I. a few days a month to assist with wait times, which has since been cancelled.

PC MLA Sidney MacEwan questioned the cancellation of the program and asked whether the minister would consider increasing the provincial complement for neurologists.

Minister of Health and Wellness Robert Mitchell said while there is a neurologist set to retire in the spring, the province currently has a full complement. (PEI Legislative Assembly)

"We've talked about a locum every once in a while, but that's just maintaining the status quo or losing ground. What options is government looking at, besides what the minister has mentioned, to fix this problem?" asked MacEwan.

Mitchell responded saying he would look into why the visiting physician program was cancelled, but that the need for neurologists was determined by the physician resource committee to determine the complement.

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