CEO Message: Critical Care Planning Jan. 25

Dear staff,  

I wanted to check in with you as another week of crucial work is happening to support critical care on PEI. I know it’s hard turning on the news and seeing the tough stories of health care. I want you to know I am thankful every day for your hard work, your creativity, your skills, and your dedication. 

As an update, the PCH PCU has remained staffed through immense dedication and goodwill from staff in all services, including respiratory therapy, nursing, and physician staff at both the PCH and at the QEH. These staff are again giving their time to support the system – and we have committed to them they won’t have to continue to do things the way they have for long.   

Here’s what is happening: 

Leaders at each site continue to work with healthcare teams to develop pathways toward sustainable staffing and relief for those who have worked short for too long.  These documents have been shared with union representatives and tomorrow the sites will be meeting to ensure alignment.

We expect to maintain four progressive care patients at PCH in the existing unit and include beds in the current PCH unit space to care for patients awaiting a bed from the emergency department. 

We anticipate 2 beds being added to the QEH ICU (with appropriate staffing) to accommodate the additional transfers . 

Heavily recruiting for all areas, including allied health, nursing, physicians, and all support staff. This will be done with partners, including medical staff associations, unions, engaged staff, and of course the Recruitment and Retention Secretariat. We do have interested candidates who are being worked with closely. 

Bringing in staffing supports for all service areas to support current staff at QEH and PCH. This will include travel agency staffing, which is always a last resort and after our staff are offered the opportunity pick up shifts. This is needed at this time. 

Recruitment at PCH:  

As previously mentioned, there are multiple physicians, including internal medicine specialists, who are in various stages of recruitment for PCH.  Their recruitment is progressing and every effort is being made to recruit.  

Health PEI continues to recruit Associate Physicians and Physician Assistants.  Interviews are presently being scheduled for the initial round of eligible candidates.  Suitability for roles at PCH will be explored with these candidates.   

Both long-term and short-term locums are being recruited as well.  Recently one long-term locum has signed on to work at PCH and we are in discussion with other potential long-term locums.  As always, nothing is guaranteed with recruitment until the individual is here, but these are leads we are actively pursuing.

We also appreciate every voice who has spoken up about the state of critical care at Prince County Hospital. The way we’re doing things right now is not sustainable. We cannot maintain the current level of critical care at PCH without burning out our staff. That is an unacceptable cost.  

That’s why we’re enacting a plan to take pressure off our critical care staff at PCH. These will be temporary measures while we build up staffing levels. I want the long-term solutions we establish at PCH to be permanent and sustainable for PCH, QEH, and all our healthcare system. 

The Emergency Operation Centres established to guide us through this patch are meeting daily. 

I am proud of the leadership at all our hospitals, in administration and the leadership coming from frontline staff and physicians. People are continuing to dig deeply to face these ongoing challenges. None of it is easy and we know everyone is doing their best to provide the most access to care possible.

Thank you,

Please send questions, comments, or submissions for these notes to, subject line “CEO Notes”.

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