…would you rather have abortion access or a family doctor?
I spent last week in Prince Edward Island. Never having been there before, I was eager to see what it was like and why it was such a tourist hot spot. Crossing the long and scenic Confederation Bridge, I found myself remembering all the cries for abortion access for these tiny rural communities. And as the island came into view, I tried to imagine seeing a clinic somewhere in this landscape.
Where would you put it? On that farm? On this waterfront park? How about across from the Green Gable house? Or maybe just down from this amusement park? I couldn’t see it. In fact, when you get into PEI, you don’t see much of what you see in a bigger city, and that’s exactly why tourists go there. Many of the people, just opening up their businesses for the season over the long weekend, told us they did so much business with tourists in July and August, that they didn’t need to operate the rest of the year. One woman, who ran an in-home restaurant and gift shop, told me her daughter was in Halifax for over two months when she gave birth to her premature granddaughter as the island didn’t have the facilities to care for them.
So then there are the priorities, what services does PEI really need? The Atlantic regions, with their higher median age, will inevitably have different concerns. So it’s a shame to hear abortion advocates crying for access, while clinics who offer the services Islanders really need, like this one, have to close their doors.
Dr. Robbie Coull’s decision to leave the province and close the Phoenix Medical Practice will leave 4,500 people without a doctor. The practice employed 14 people.
“This is a disaster for health care in P.E.I.,” Coull said in a news release Friday. […]
“We lost $10,000 over the last month, and that was without me taking any salary,” he said in a release.
“Unfortunately, they’ve confirmed for us this week that that money will not be forth coming and we will not be getting negotiations for a pilot. We therefore have no option but to let go of all of our staff and to close the practice,” Coull said to CBC News.
The Phoenix Medical Practice had proposed an expansion of its current model. The three-year pilot project would have provided funding for three doctors and cared for 7,500 patients. Coull said part of the project would have been to demonstrate cheaper per-patient per-year cost than what the province is currently paying out to salaried doctors.
“We made it very clear to them that without this funding we would be forced to close our doors,” he said.
Coull said he was very concerned about what will happen to his patients. In looking at the diabetics on his patient roster, he suggested that five of them could die over the next five years if they can’t find another doctor to provide adequate care.
Dr.Richard Wedge, with Health PEI, said the affected patients will automatically be added to the patient registry of people waiting for a family doctor.
4,500 is roughly 3% of the total population of Charlottetown now without a family physician.by