I am pleased to rise in the house today and announce that we will be adding an additional general surgeon to our provincial complement.
This is widely recognized as a step to stabilize workload, to provide better care for patients and alleviate pressure on our current system.
This new position will allow for a fourth general surgeon in Charlottetown and brings our total to 7 general surgeons in the province.
Right now every year the QEH performs approximately 8,000 surgeries, and 1,200 of those are general surgeries. At the PCH we see over 2,500 surgeries per year with over 800 of those being general.
We continue to increase the number of surgeries performed in the province year after year. It is our goal that by adding another surgeon to the complement we will decrease the patient loads of our surgeons’ and provide more consistent patient care.
With a one-in-four rotation, there will be far less locum coverage on the weekends and our general surgeons will have more opportunity for follow-up care with their own patients….providing peace of mind for Islanders, because now the surgeon who operates on you on Saturday, should be the same person who is at your bedside on Monday.
Surgeries are an integral part of our health care system. As government we are calling for maximum usage of our facility and the assets we have in Summerside.
We continue to see greater use of ambulatory care services – which results in better patient flow at QEH and PCH. Between these two facilities alone had over 115,000 ambulatory care visits last year. The new $30 million ambulatory care unit at QEH has an annual operating budget of $8.9 million, and it is anticipated that the volume of patient visits will increase dramatically this year.
We are also currently undergoing major renovations to our Pre-Surgery Clinic, Day Surgery Unit, PACU and Ophthalmology Suite at the QEH. This $7.95 million dollar physical expansion at the QEH will increase space and provide better access to surgical services for Islanders.
We have recently filled the physician complement at PCH with the hiring of Dr. McKay….and two years ago we increased the orthopaedic complement by one and hired Dr. Scott Wotherspoon.
As Minister, I am pleased with the progress made to date on surgical initiatives, and our government continues to work towards better access and better care throughout our entire healthcare system.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital provides health care services for Islanders – – – from Tignish to Souris. As we build on our complement of general surgeons, we are building it to meet the needs of Islanders not only for today, but for future generations.