Mister Speaker, today I’m pleased to outline measures we’ve put in place to address wait times for semi-urgent and non-urgent ultrasounds.
I would like to begin by assuring Islanders that all priority patients have been, and continue to be, seen in a timely manner.
These priority patients include emergency …. urgent …. inpatient…. breast ….. and obstetrical cases.
Mister Speaker, recent wait times for semi-urgent and non-urgent scans have been unusual….
….. as a result of unexpected vacancies and a national shortage of sonographers.
However, I’d like to clarify that it will not take two years to clear up the backlog…. as speculated earlier by the Honourable Member from Stratford-Kinlock.
Rather, we expect to return to our targeted wait times by November.
These targets are 2 weeks for urgent cases…. 4 weeks for semi-urgent cases…. and 12 weeks for non-urgent.
As part of our immediate plan:
• A return-in-service sonographer began working at the QEH in June
• A sonographer will be moving to the Island from Halifax and starting work here on August 24th
• A second return-in-service sonographer will begin in early November… meaning that all three permanent positions will be filled
• A sonographer will return from maternity leave in December
• And another will return from maternity leave in February.
This will bring us close to full strength with 9.3 sonographers…. and more staff than we had last year.
In the meantime…. we are contracting with ProMed HR Solutions of British Columbia…. for additional coverage between July and October.
This will allow us to add two temporary sonographers…. one at the QEH and one at the PCH, for the summer months.
With the addition of these staff, wait times will begin to decrease immediately.
And shortly, all patients waiting for non-urgent exams will be contacted by Health PEI and booked for an appointment.
Mister Speaker, the shortage of sonographers has created challenges in PEI and across the country.
I would like to thank our dedicated staff and physicians for continuing to ensure that priority patients are seen in a timely manner …. and for working with us to find an effective solution.