PEI

Physician assistants considered by Health PEI

Health PEI is investigating whether it's worth adding physicians assistants to the Island's healthcare system.

Health PEI is investigating whether it's worth adding physicians assistants to the Island's healthcare system.

Physician assistants are relatively new in public healthcare in Canada. They have been offering care in the military for more than three decades.

Physician assistants offer a similar level of care to nurse practitioners. Health PEI CEO Dr. Richard Wedge said there are different approaches in the training of the two professionals, but the end result in patient care is very similar.

“I'm not sure that there's any particular advantages. I think they're complementary and I think there's room for both within the healthcare sector on P.E.I.,” said Wedge.

“What we need to understand is where they add value and where they could help with us in terms of patient care.”

Wedge said including physician assistants would require legislation and regulations, and he doesn’t know if or when that might happen.

Officials with the Department of Health said "this is only at the listening stage right now. To say government is considering or not considering would be inaccurate."

The Association of Registered Nurses of P.E.I. says it has been lobbying to get nurse practitioners in emergency rooms and long term care which physician assistants are also seeking.

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