Liberals question how rural health hubs will add services

Liberal health critic Robert Henderson wants to know how rural health hubs proposed by the P.E.I. government will be any different from the services currently offered in rural areas.

The Progressive Conservative government included $5 million in the capital budget for the centres.

Health Minister James Aylward has said there will be one in West Prince and one in Kings County. There would be two or three doctors, along with nurse practitioners and specialized registered nurses so people can get health services closer to home. Specialized services might include diabetes and COPD care.

"I'm questioning what's different than what we already have? We do have, I would deem, a health-care centre hub in O'Leary, Alberton, Montague, into Tignish, Tyne Valley," said Henderson.

Katerina Georgieva/CBC

"Is this all going to be about bricks and mortar and more space, or are these some sort of a virtual hub that links in services to other more remote locations, which there may be some value in that. But $5 million, is that going to be enough? And how many of these are you going to implement?"

The hubs were added to the capital budget at the request of the Green Party.

Opposition health critic Trish Altass said community consultation will be central to making sure the hubs are effective.

"Rural health care hubs are not a one-size-fits-all," said Altass.

Laura Meader/CBC

"It's something that needs to be developed with community and something that needs to be able to adapt and change over time to meet needs."

Altass said she expects the hubs will evolve over time.

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