Two primary care access clinics added to provide additional options for accessing health care services
The province is expanding care for people who don’t have a primary care provider by opening two clinics for patients who cannot see a health care provider through virtual care because they require an in-person appointment.
Since 2020, people without a primary care provider have been able to access virtual care through the Health PEI Virtual Care program. This service provides more that 200 Islanders with access to care each week through virtual appointments.
However, some people who log in to the virtual care service are unable to complete their virtual visit, as they need to see a care provider in person, due to the nature of their medical concern. With the soft launch of these clinics a few weeks ago, patients who cannot be treated virtually may now be referred to one of two in-person primary care clinics, located in Charlottetown and Summerside.
The clinics provide access to nurse practitioners, physicians and other health-care providers to meet primary health-care needs. These access clinics, similar to initiatives such as Pharmacy Plus, will provide additional access points for Islanders seeking primary care.
“This innovative solution provides another access point for Islanders to primary care similar to other programs we’ve recently launched such as Pharmacy Plus,” said Honourable Dennis King, Premier of Prince Edward Island. “These clinics have been operating for six weeks and initial feedback has been positive from those who have been treated and we are now in a position to move to the next phase of expanding services by adding additional health care providers to increase capacity so more Islanders can access this service.”
These new clinics are in the initial launch stage and have been operating since earlier this Fall. The goal for these clinics is to provide another layer of access to health care for those who cannot be treated virtually through the unaffiliated virtual care through the Maple platform. During the initial launch these clinics can see up to a dozen patients each day. The number of available appointments will grow as additional staff are added to the clinics.
“As we renew and rebuild the healthcare system on PEI, we need to help Islanders access healthcare services while we transform primary care through patient medical homes and other initiatives,” said Ernie Hudson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “As we continue to recruit more health care workers and develop innovative health care solutions, we are going to make sure Islanders have a place to turn.”
To get access to virtual care and the primary care access clinics, people without a regular primary care provider are asked to join the PEI patient registry and then go to the virtual care registration site, (you will need your health card). Patients of recently closed family doctor practices have already been added to the virtual care platform and do not need to register.
“These clinics will help bridge the need for primary care until the long-term solution of fully developed patient medical homes and neighbourhoods is realized. These clinics are a measure to help Islanders get access to the care they need as the system undergoes renewal in this challenging time in Canadian health care,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, CEO of Health PEI. “We ask for the public’s patience and understanding as we get this service up and running and expanded over the coming days and weeks.”
In addition to the virtual care and access clinic options, Islanders who do not have a regular primary care provider are encouraged to visit the Health PEI Access to Care webpage to learn about more health care services that are available to you.
Department of Health and Wellness