Trish Altass, MLA Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke
Official Opposition Critic for Health and Wellness
When healthcare decisions and plans are made by experts, Islanders benefit greatly. When those same decisions are left to the whims or political will of an individual, they can be devastating.
In 2018 government amended the Health Services Act to move decision-making power and authority away from the Health PEI board and gave it to the Minister of Health and Wellness. This means the minister can make decisions and changes on how plans are implemented without consultation and discussion with health experts or consideration of best practices and evidence. It means politics can interfere with and directly influence Islanders’ health outcomes.
Amendments being proposed
Changes I am proposing to the Health Services Act will give the power and authority back to the Health PEI board to implement our provincial wellness plans. This change will greatly reduce the possibility of political interference and ensure decisions are being made by experts who understand healthcare governance, best practices, and how to achieve outcomes that benefit Islanders.
Benefits of these changes
Our provincial health plans are developed by the Department of Health and Wellness. It is steered by the minister who provides high-level goals and visions. Under the current structure, the minister can make decisions and changes on how the plans are implemented without consultation and discussion with the experts. It also does not require those decisions to be evidence based. This can be problematic, especially if the minister has no expertise or experience in health system design and change management.
The changes I am bringing forward will empower the board to make independent decisions without the risk of political interference.
One only has to look at how well PEI has been handling the COVID pandemic to see how things can work when government follows the advice of health experts. Islanders have greatly benefited this past year simply because government hasn’t been interfering with the experts. We have been able to weather this storm primarily because Dr. Morrison and Nurse Dowling have been steering the ship.
Prior to proposing these changes in the House, I want to hear from you. I invite interested parties to send their thoughts, comments, and questions to the Official Opposition by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the office at (902) 620-3977. Please be sure to send your comments before February 18, 2021.