Kings County Memorial Hospital in Montague has a chronic condition - emergency room closed, no physicians available. The closures were predicted by opposition MLA Sidney MacEwen in the legislature in May. The minister of health noted the difficulties and called a meeting to ask for public and medical staff input. Soon after the meeting, the minister said he had solutions - triage would be improved, hours reduced and, hope upon hope, other Island physicians would volunteer to fill in the gaps in the schedule. Things would get better starting June 1.
June has come, the closures continue and the minister has another solution – immediately hire two dedicated ER doctors. Turns out that the ER positions offered are for locums, so, if hired, the physicians may be ‘dedicated’ but nonetheless temporary. Failures at KCMH point to the solution. Operating an emergency department as a walk-in clinic is outmoded. It does not work well for patients and for the family physicians who are burning out doing emergency care.
Now that the department of health and Health P.E.I. are being run from the same desk, the minister is in a position to do something useful. A commitment, with veracity, to establish stable walk-in clinics in Montague and Souris would go a long way to provide adequate and timely healthcare and access to services of a physician and as well alleviate closures at KCMH.
This is the time for intervention as chronic edges to acute and possibly radical loss at KCMH emergency department.