P.E.I.'s Opposition health critic wants the province's health minister to authorize Health PEI to publicize job postings for nurse practitioners.
Green MLA Michele Beaton said she was told by Health PEI that there were 10 open nurse practitioner jobs to be listed. On June 30, she said she confirmed that with P.E.I. Health Minister Ernie Hudson.
Recruiting nurses is part of the Department of Health's responsibility, and keeping them is Health PEI's job, Beaton said.
"So at the end of the day, the ultimate authority would be the minister and the department of getting those postings out in order to be able to recruit in the first place."
At a meeting of the standing committee on health held last week, Hudson said there were some challenges to overcome in the process of filling those positions, however, he didn't provide details about them.
Beaton said it's concerning that the Department of Health isn't actively recruiting nurses
"We know that we need front-line health-care workers and we know we need primary care. It should be something that is well known and on top of."
Islanders should know what hurdles are preventing the department from listing the jobs, Beaton said.
"I think what would be even more fair is for the minister to actually let the public know what the hurdles are, because if the minister can't get through the hurdles, who can?"
Call for ministerial order
Beaton wants Hudson to use a ministerial order to allow Health PEI to post the jobs.
"We know that hiring and getting people working within our health-care system is crucial in order to be able to get our [human resources] levels back up. If there's any time to use a directive, that would be an easy one to explain and would be a win for the minister," she said.
"I'm not sure why they wouldn't pull out all the stops in order to be able to hire when we know that it's critical at this point."
Health Minister Hudson likened issuing a ministerial order to using a sledgehammer on the issue, and said instead his government is trying to get rid of hurdles that make it harder to hire health-care workers.
He and the assistant deputy minister of health said they would come back with information on why the positions for nurse practitioners haven't been listed.
Beaton said all leaders in government should use their power to improve health care.
"We're seeing significant challenges right now within health care and we need to have all hands on deck in order to remove any of those barriers that are existing to allow Health PEI to get to the point where they need to be in order for Islanders to be receiving that health care."
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