P.E.I. doctors push back against Currie's accusation

Colin MacLean colin.maclean@tc.tc
Published on May 6, 2014

Dr. Cyril Moyse

The registrar of the P.E.I. College of Physicians and Surgeons is defending his organization after Health Minister Doug Currie raised concern about the length of time it takes some doctors to obtain a licence to practise in P.E.I.

Dr. Cyril Moyse says the college has already been streamlining their accreditation processes, aligning them with national standards.

He realizes there are concerns with the length of time it can sometimes take, but says he believes Currie may not understand all the issues at play from the college’s point of view in ensuring a physician is appropriately and safely accredited to practice medicine.

“I think the problem really is a perceptional one,” Moyse said.

“I realize from a political point of view, perception is really important. From our point of view, public safety is important, so if one is going to interfere with the other, public safety will trump perception. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk, and I would hope, understand each other a bit better.”

On Friday, Currie told reporters the accreditation process is too onerous and is even preventing some physicians from coming to P.E.I.

He said recently there was a doctor who was practising at a hospital in Ontario who wanted to come to P.E.I. to fill a locum position. He eventually gave up, citing too much red tape in trying to get a licence in P.E.I.

Currie says he has raised the issue with the college, but received pushback toward any changes.

In an interview with The Guardian Monday, Moyse explained the work that must be done to ensure a candidate meets all requirements can sometimes be extensive.

“Our job is to determine – are the qualifications appropriate for where they’re going to practise, and to make sure there are not professional, behavioural, ethical issues that are pending or in practice, or health issues that could interfere with a safe practice,” Moyse said.

While doing this work, the college must look into private matters, such as complaints that may have been raised against the physician. This information cannot be shared with government or the public.

“From the minister’s perception, I can understand it. They have a need, they want someone, they have a candidate. But beyond that, from the minister’s point of view, it’s a black box,” Moyse said.

“The ministry, from their mandate, is interested in, I presume, to provide the (physician) volume and find someone to provide the volume of services that’s required. Our mandate is to make sure the services they do provide are safe.

It’s two sides of the same coin, but you can’t see one side of the coin and the other side at the same time.”

He acknowledged the paperwork can take some time to acquire, but once it has all been gathered and submitted, the actual accreditation takes only between two days to two weeks.

He was also quick to point out not all the paperwork is required by the college.

“We’ve done a lot to try to reduce duplication, but in addition to the there’s also a fairly lengthy credentialing process that the hospital and Health P.E.I. have to undergo,” he said.

Currie has said he will take the idea of a potential regional standard for physician licensing to the meeting of Atlantic health ministers next month.

Moyse says he welcomes those discussions, and hopes to have the opportunity to discuss the matter directly with the minister.