PEI

College of Physicians and Surgeons of P.E.I. fast-tracking licensing in response to COVID-19

The college implemented an emergency licensure provision to change some of its processes around licensing, including removing inter-provincial barriers.

'We may end up in a situation where there are hotspots across the country that need all hands on deck'

The CPSPEI will also waive licensing fees for the time being. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of P.E.I. (CPSPEI) is fast-tracking its licensing process in response to COVID-19.

The college implemented an emergency licensure provision to change some of its processes around licensing, including removing interprovincial barriers and expediting renewals for retired physicians.

Dr. Matt Kutcher, the president of the college, said the organization spoke with Health PEI and other colleges across the country about how they could get more doctors into the workforce during the pandemic — especially those who are recently retired.

"We may end up in a situation where there are hotspots across the country that need all hands on deck," he said.

"And we certainly don't want to be limiting the availability of physicians to travel across provincial boundaries to where they're most needed."

Still upholding mandate

Kutcher said the college used to meet twice a month to approve licences, but now, members will meet daily to approve them as they come in.

He said the licensing process is complex, but the college will continue to uphold its mandate. 

Dr. Matt Kutcher, the president of the CPSPEI, says members will meet daily to approve licences as they come in. (Sally Pitt/CBC News)

"We're certainly not opening the doors wide to let anybody in who has a medical degree," he said.

"The intent is really just to look at some of the standard operating procedures and say OK, well what can we do to make all of this go a lot quicker."

Kutcher said he's not sure how many applications the college will receive because of the change, but he said he doesn't think P.E.I. will lose any physicians.

The CPSPEI will also be waiving licensing fees for the time being. This policy will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

About the Author

Isabella Zavarise is a video journalist with CBC in P.E.I. You can contact her at isabella.zavarise@cbc.ca

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