Opposition wants premier, health minister to testify about health-care plans

·2 min read

Prince Edward Island's Official Opposition is calling on Premier Dennis King and Health Minister Ernie Hudson to testify before a committee of the legislature to put their government's plans for health care on the record — especially if there are any plans for privatization.

On Monday, King met with his counterparts from Ontario and the Maritimes to discuss Canada's crisis in health care and issues related to staffing shortages, including shorter hours at hospital emergency rooms, surgery backlogs, and desperate attempts to attract and retain physicians.

Doug Ford's government recently unveiled a plan to fund more surgeries at private clinics in Ontario, and at the summit there were questions about whether Maritime premiers were considering making similar changes.

The talk of privatization had political parties, unions and even the CEO of Health P.E.I. speaking out this week.

"It's vital that they actually share their plan publicly to Islanders, and let them know how they are going to be better cared for by this government," Green Party health critic Michele Beaton told Kerry Campbell Friday on CBC News: Compass.

Hudson says no privatization

King said health-care delivery needs to be "fundamentally different" in future years, but in a Tuesday interview with CBC News, Hudson said that does not mean the province is considering privatizing elements of the health-care system.

One of the Green Party's ideas for improving the health system immediately is to allow nurse practitioners to take a larger role on Prince Edward Island, Beaton said. She wants to know what obstacles are keeping them from working to the full scope of their training.

"Is it a legal issue, is it an insurance issue? My goodness, we should be able to clear that issue," Beaton said. "If we've got the premier at the table, then we should be able to clear any of those obstacles."

The standing committee on health meets Aug 31. At that meeting, Beaton said its members will discuss moving forward with plans to call the premier and health minister to testify.