'No quick fix' to staffing shortages, CEO of Health PEI says

·2 min read
'No quick fix' to staffing shortages, CEO of Health PEI says
Dr. Michael Gardam says health-care problems facing P.E.I. — though not unique to the Island — are big ones, with no quick fixes.  (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
Dr. Michael Gardam says health-care problems facing P.E.I. — though not unique to the Island — are big ones, with no quick fixes. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

As politicians continue to point fingers in the P.E.I. Legislature over medical care in the province, the CEO of Health PEI says steps are being taken to address concerns but change will take time.

"I've just been so impressed with the health-care workers here and with the team that we've created at Health PEI," Michael Gardam told CBC Compass host Louise Martin.

"We've got lovely hard-working people in a very dysfunctional system."

One of the dominant topics of discussion during the fall sitting has been related to staffing shortages. More specifically, what is being done to address the situation.

Last week the minister of health told the legislature that the QEH was overcapacity. According to Gardam, this week is much better than last.

"This is something that we see off and on every month of the year and we have for a long time," he said. "What's happening though is it's happening more often."

'Very serious issue'

But P.E.I. is not unique, he said. In fact, Gardam said the situation is very similar to what other provinces in Canada are dealing with.

"All of them are facing staff fatigue and burnout from the pandemic. The pandemic slows everything down," he said.

"There's all these factors that have contributed to this and it is a very serious issue. It's also one where there is no quick fix."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Staffing shortages are not limited to the hospitals, however. There have also been concerns raised about the lack of paramedics and family doctors.

One solution proposed is medical homes and neighbourhoods. Gardam said Health PEI is also trying a new QEH clinic that helps those without family doctors by connecting them with those who assisted them in the emergency department.

That way patients don't end up back in emergency for something minor after being discharged.

"I can probably name you 15 things that we're working on right now," Gardam said.

"We do these short-term things, but the answer is longer term and that is what's so frustrating."

And while Gardam maintains that there is no quick fix, he said he is hopeful that by raising concerns, and pushing the conversation forward, some of the big issues can start to be addressed.

"I'm going to own Health PEI's problems and I'm asking everyone else to own their problem and if we do that we're going to get better," he said.

"But, again, it's going to take us a little while."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting