$996 million health deal for P.E.I. a matter of ‘final details’
STORY CONTINUES BELOW THESE SALTWIRE VIDEOS
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — After conferences with senior officers within the Trudeau authorities, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King says his authorities is “working by means of the ultimate particulars” of a brand new well being funding take care of Ottawa.
P.E.I.’s share of the federal-provincial health-care funding deal will add as much as $996 million over 10 years, $288 million of which will likely be new funding.
On Feb. 22, King and provincial Well being Minister Ernie Hudson met with Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Federal Well being Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.
“We’re working by means of the ultimate particulars to return to what we might name an settlement in precept,” King advised reporters at a late afternoon press briefing in Charlottetown on Feb. 22.
King stated he has advised his well being officers to “instantly” start bilateral discussions with the federal authorities on the deal.
King’s phrases echoed these of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, who additionally met with LeBlanc and Duclos on the identical day. Higgs advised reporters a deal would “come to fruition in early July,” however could be integrated in his province’s price range for the approaching yr.
“We’re hoping within the subsequent day or so to announce just a few provinces which have been amongst the primary to achieve these agreements in precept. And I feel we might all be shocked if Prince Edward Island wasn’t in that first batch,” LeBlanc advised in P.E.I. later within the day.
The deal follows two years of advocacy from provincial and territorial premiers who’ve referred to as on the Federal Authorities to extend its share of well being funding from 22 per cent to 35 per cent.
Whereas the greenback quantity offered by Ottawa is way lower than what the premiers requested, each King and LeBlanc stated the deal presents P.E.I. a comparatively larger share.
Along with will increase within the Canada Well being Switch annually, that are distributed to provinces primarily based on their inhabitants measurement, P.E.I.’s deal may even embrace $288 in bilateral funding.
“A base amount of cash within the bilateral agreements signifies that you will profit in a extra important means than if the cash went solely right into a per-capita components,” LeBlanc stated. “Your province cannot understand the economies of scale that a few of the jurisdictions have.”
P.E.I., like different provinces, has struggled with a scarcity of physicians, nurses and different well being staff. On Feb. 22, P.E.I. CEO Michael Gardam advised the Japanese Graphic the province has a well being workers emptiness of 20 per cent.
Over 27,000 Islanders are listed on the province’s well being registry, though this quantity doesn’t embrace 1000’s of sufferers whose medical doctors have left, retired or diminished their affected person load in 2022.
Ottawa and the provinces agreed the elevated funding will likely be used to enhance 4 key areas:
- Increasing entry to well being companies, together with in rural areas
- Decreasing backlogs and wait occasions, together with supporting well being staff
- Bettering psychological well being and addictions therapy; and
- Modernizing well being care by means of expanded use of well being information instruments
The deal would require the P.E.I. authorities to current an motion plan to the federal authorities detailing its plans to enhance these areas and the way progress will likely be measured. The plan will likely be made public.
P.E.I. and Ottawa may even negotiate particular bilateral agreements on extra funding for psychological well being and addictions therapy, residence care and long-term care. These bilateral agreements will collectively be price $40 million in funding over 10 years.
The deal doesn’t embrace any provision that may limit federal funding if the P.E.I. didn’t enhance the agreed-upon well being outcomes.
The deal additionally doesn’t require the P.E.I. authorities to implement improved requirements for long-term care developed by the Well being Requirements Group.
When requested whether or not the federal authorities will use the funds to compel enhancements, Duclos stated he’s assured the province will obtain enhancements.
“On this specific province, there was the need. And there continues to be a really clear will to assist enhance well being outcomes and assist staff within the course of,” Duclos stated.
King stated his authorities is “accountable to the taxpayers of P.E.I. It is their cash that we’re investing and we’re spending it to make lives higher.”
Stu Neatby is a political reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He may be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @stu_neatby.