TYNE VALLEY -- In announcing sweeping changes to the way health care services will be delivered in P.E.I., Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie indicated provincial officials will be attending community meetings over the next month to explain the system changes.
The Friends of Stewart Memorial Hospital are eager to get that process underway and are already trying to arrange a public meeting for the week of April 8.
Co-chair Lynden Ellis said the Friends followed through with a previously scheduled committee meeting on March 19. That was mere hours after Currie’s announcement which included news that Stewart Memorial would become a long-term care facility by fall.
Attendance at the meeting, Ellis confirmed was significantly higher than normal because of the announcement, and arrangements got underway immediately to start planning a public meeting They are seeking a date when the health minister and other government officials can attend, because Ellis knows the public has a lot of questions they want answered.
We may be small, but they do a lot of work there. - Friends of Stewart Memorial Hospital co-chair, Lynden Ellis
What irks Ellis is that the Friends had been working with government officials since January on a plan that would ensure that ambulatory services would be maintained at the Tyne Valley hospital.
“We worked with them, and we worked right through until about two weeks ago. We got this proposal drawn up and the whole thing and all of a sudden, bang. They just changed in mid-stream,” he lamented.
“Why would you ever work with government?” he said in describing his disbelief in how things turned.
Ellis noted the small hospital serves about 3,500 area residents. “We may be small, but they do a lot of work there.”
Stewart Memorial, Ellis said, accounts for only 0.2 per cent of the province’s health care budget, and government officials have admitted to him that the changes they’re making won’t save any of that money.
The Friends have a meeting scheduled for next week to finalize plans for their public meeting.