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Better Access, Better Care

Care that is changing to meet the needs of Islanders
Health services need to keep pace with the changing needs of Islanders. Currently, one in three people have a chronic condition such as high-blood pressure, diabetes, or emphysema and more than 5,000 will turn 65 in the next five years.

Better Access, Better Care is about improving access to emergency services, family physicians, elective surgeries and long-term care.


What has changed? 
Enhancing emergency care services and increasing emergency vehicle fleet:
  • The new Collaborative Emergency Centre (CEC) at Western Hospital has stabilized emergency services in West Prince, and new ambulances have freed other ambulances to respond to emergencies across the Island.
  • A new computerized dispatch system was added in 2016. This technology captures the geo-location of all active ambulances across the province at any given time, as well as response times, call volumes and the nature of calls.
  • One new ambulance was added in 2016 to the St. Peter’s and surrounding area, giving Eastern Kings residents access to another ambulance.
  • Two rural rapid-response ambulances were added in 2013 – one to Kings County and another to West Prince.
  • Two ambulance transfer units were added in 2013 eliminating the hospital-to-hospital transfer fee for patients. 
  • All ground ambulances were upgraded with enhanced electrocardiography (ECG) equipment in 2013. This equipment allows the receiving emergency department to read the detailed ECG in real-time and bring together a team of clinicians before the patient arrives at the hospital.

Re-focusing community hospitals so more alternate care and long-term care beds are available, allowing more acute-care hospital beds to be available for our sickest Islanders while enhancing long-term care:
  • Community Hospital O'Leary and Souris Hospital have become extended-care facilities, providing a combined 30 beds for those who do not require the specialized care of an acute-care facility but still need alternate levels of care.
  • Stewart Memorial Hospital in Tyne Valley has transitioned to a 23-bed long-term care facility. Government has also committed to building a new long-term care facility in the community to replace the existing one.

8-1-1 telehealth:
  • Since September 2013, Islanders can call 8-1-1 for free, health information and advice from a registered nurse (RN) 24-hours a day. The service is available in more than 120 languages. For those with hearing impairments, the service can be accessed by calling 7-1-1.


When do I call 9-1-1, go to the emergency department, or go to the CEC?
  • Call 9-1-1, or go to the emergency department for life threatening illnesses and injuries: suspected heart attack, seizures, severe abdominal pain, significant bleeding, difficulty breathing, signs of a stroke (sudden weakness, trouble speaking, vision problems, headache, dizziness).
  • Visit the CEC overnight for medical problems that require prompt attention but are not life threatening such as mild fever, minor burns, sprains, and strains.
  • For non-urgent care, make an appointment with your family physician, or call 8-1-1 to speak directly to a registered nurse or visit a walk-in clinic.


For more information about Better Access, Better Care, call 1-800-236-5196.
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