King Must Order a Public Inquiry on Rural Emergency Health Care
The untimely death of a West Prince man in recent weeks, associated with a more than one hour wait for an Ambulance, and EMS life-saving expertise came as a shock to most Islanders, but sadly, not a surprise to rural residents. The King government must immediately commission a public inquiry on Emergency Medical Services for rural Prince Edward Island to thoroughly address the glaring disparity of emergency health care access across our province.
The Public Inquiry on Rural Emergency Medical Services mandate should include:
* Timely access to Ambulance service.
* Emergency Room (ER) service access at rural hospitals.
* Rural hospital acute care services.
The paramedics are well trained to provide life-saving care when they arrive on site where someone is requiring emergency care, but it is evident that the present Island EMS system is failing, creating a two-tier system of health care in our province, leaving rural Islanders behind. That is unacceptable and must be corrected.
Since the Ghiz/MacLauchlan governments closed or downgraded rural hospitals and access to Emergency Rooms, Islanders from West Prince and Eastern Kings areas have been obliged to rely more and more on Island EMS for emergency medical services, and transport to the Prince County Hospital in Summerside, or the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. The issue of unacceptable ambulance wait times and EMS care is continuing to cause needless suffering, and threatening the lives of rural Islanders.
Meanwhile, we can’t wait for the Public Inquiry on Rural Emergency Services to file its report. The King government must act immediately to ensure that ambulance wait times for rural Islanders is addressed. We don’t want to see the lives of more Islanders placed at risk for failure of access to timely emergency care. It should not have to come to further worry and suffering of rural Islanders having to resort to lawsuits to force the King government to demonstrate some concern for rural PEI.
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