Statement from Karla Bernard on King Government’s Fixation with Talking While Frontline Healthcare Workers Crave Action

During a presentation to the Standing Committee on Health and Social Development Wednesday morning, we heard from the union representing healthcare workers like pharmacy technicians, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists and other critical workers. We discussed some big issues in healthcare and the lack of action from this government.

One topic that came up was Minister of Health Mark McLane’s “Focus on the Front Line” tour. This Island-wide tour is supposed to give Minister McLane an opportunity to meet with healthcare workers, listen to their concerns and find solutions. But here's the thing: government already knows what's wrong, and they've known for a long time.

For years, healthcare workers across PEI have participated in countless discussions, meetings, and committees to communicate their challenges and provide potential solutions. There have been several reports, articles and interviews produced outlining these discussions. For example, the newly released PEACHY report clearly outlines the current challenges facing the healthcare system and predicts future obstacles. One glaring message from the report is that PEI requires thousands of new healthcare workers to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for services.

These concerns are not new; the frontline has been telling us this over and over again for years. Yesterday in committee we heard again that healthcare workers are frustrated with the lack of action from the King government, and are left feeling disrespected and devalued with their morale completely eroded. The time for discussing these issues has long passed - it is time for meaningful action.

It's important not to lose sight of the impact this has on Islanders. While the Minister tours the Island, Islanders are left bearing the consequences of the healthcare system's challenges. Delays in accessing healthcare services, longer waiting times for treatments, and reduced quality of care due to staff shortages are all too common.

Islanders deserve a healthcare system that operates efficiently, effectively, and with their best interests at heart. It's not just about addressing the concerns of frontline workers but also about ensuring that Islanders can access timely and high-quality healthcare services when they need them most. As discussions continue, let's remember that the ultimate goal is to create a healthcare system that truly serves the people of PEI, and that requires both dialogue and, more importantly, meaningful action.

It's time for the government to shift its focus from talk to action. The resources the Minister is putting into the "Focus on the Front Line" tour could be better used to implement real solutions to address the staffing crisis, enhance working conditions, and demonstrate genuine respect for the healthcare frontline. Actions speak louder than words, and Islanders cannot handle any more procrastination from this government.

Karla Bernard

Leader of the Third Party

MLA Charlottetown-Victoria Park