New psychiatrists practicing in the province

Strengthening mental health services -

Islanders’ access to acute mental health services continues to improve as another new psychiatrist joins the provincial complement, the fourth since the start of the year.

Dr. Anita Taj, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, began practicing last week in a one-year full-time locum position supporting community mental health in Charlottetown. Overall, the four newly recruited psychiatrists bring the current number of filled positions to 13 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions – of which 8.3 FTEs are now participating in on-call services (soon to be 11.3 FTEs). Health PEI’s psychiatry complement is 15 FTEs.

“Mental well-being is so important to an individual’s overall health and wellness,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell. “I am excited to welcome these four new psychiatrists to our province and to our health care team. As a government, we appreciate the importance of ensuring Islanders have access to highly skilled health care professionals and remain committed to attracting more medical professionals, making sure that Islanders have access to the right care, when and where they need it.”

The other three psychiatrists who recently joined the complement also support in-patient and community mental health services:

  • Dr. Mohomed Al Masri is practicing as a full-time permanent psychiatrist supporting in-patient mental health at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital;
  • Dr. Mahesh Nachnani is currently practicing as a full-time permanent psychiatrist supporting in-patient mental health at Prince County Hospital, as well as community mental health in Prince County; and,
  • Dr. Javier Salabarria is a geriatric psychiatrist practicing as a 0.8 FTE locum at Hillsborough Hospital, as well as supporting community mental health in Charlottetown and the provincial geriatric program (he will transition to a full-time permanent position in July).

Additionally, a second geriatric psychiatrist is providing locum telehealth support on weekends, as well as in-province on a temporary basis for the next few months. A three-month locum psychiatrist began practicing last week, supporting community mental health services in Charlottetown.

“When mental health issues are very complex, a psychiatry assessment and consultation is needed to best support the individual’s health,” said Dr. Heather Keizer, psychiatrist and chief of mental health and addictions. “We’ve been working hard to renew our psychiatry service over the past year and I am so pleased with quality of psychiatrists that we are recruiting into our complement. It reinforces that we are making progress and moving in the right direction.”

“Recruiting specialist physicians such as psychiatrists can be challenging as these are highly sought-after medical professionals by health care jurisdictions across the country, and internationally,” Minister Mitchell added. “We continue to focus on recruitment efforts to fill the two vacant positions within the psychiatry complement, as well as other medical profession complements across the province.”

For more information, including health care career opportunities and programs on Prince Edward Island, visit www.healthjobspei.ca. For more information about mental health services, visit: www.healthpei.ca/mentalhealth.


Media contact:

Amanda Hamel

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