PEI

'Patients pulling weeds' from Harbourside Health Centre exam room in Summerside, Green MLA tells house

Questions about the condition of the Harbourside Health Centre in Summerside were posed by Green MLA Lynne Lund during a sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature on Friday afternoon.

'There's a broken elevator that is forcing our most frail geriatric patients to be carried'

'There are major roof leaks that are forcing large areas of the clinic to close for weeks at a time and frequent sewage backups,' says Green MLA Lynne Lund about the Harbourside Health Centre in Summerside. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

Questions about the condition of the Harbourside Health Centre in Summerside were posed by Green MLA Lynne Lund during a sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature on Friday morning.

Lund says she has heard from a number of health-care providers who have voiced concerns about the state of the building.

For years, Lund said, governments have ignored the fact that the physical space housing the clinic is unacceptable and unfit for patients and doctors.

Doctors at the clinic have trouble offering patient confidentiality, she said, on account that people can hear each other from neighbouring rooms.

"There's a broken elevator that is forcing our most frail geriatric patients to be carried up and down a narrow staircase by staff," Lund said. 

Forced closures

"There are major roof leaks that are forcing large areas of the clinic to close for weeks at a time and frequent sewage backups. One, as recently as last week, that have forced the clinic to close at a moment's notice," she said.

In the house Friday, Green MLA Trish Altass also noted that weeds were growing in one of the facility's exam rooms.

Health and Wellness Minister James Aylward says he was troubled by the state of the clinic when he toured it last year. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

Altass said an email was sent to the departments of Health and Wellness and Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, which included pictures of "weeds that had started to grow in one of the Harbourside exam rooms." 

"A patient literally pulled the weeds out. How disturbing and embarrassing for the health professionals?"

Altass said the Department of Transportation has been asked several times since 2016 to oversee upgrades to the facility. 

Not only do residents of Summerside deserve to have privacy, within health … situations, but all Islanders deserve that.— Minister of Health and Wellness James Aylward

"Why four years later, are patients pulling weeds out of the exam room floor?" 

Health and Wellness Minister James Aylward said he was quite alarmed when he toured the centre last year.

Aylward told the house the department is evaluating its resources where primary care is being provided. That review includes looking at facilities.

"Not only do residents of Summerside deserve to have privacy, within health … situations, but all Islanders deserve that," he said.  

Transportation Minister Steven Myers told the legislature he plans to have a tour of the clinic as soon as possible to figure out what repairs are needed and if the building is fit for patients.

Should the facility be unfit for patients, he said, the province will have to find an appropriate new location.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker

now