Note from Michael Jan 16, 2023 | 2023 Lookahead

Notes from Michael graphicFrom the desk of Dr. Michael Gardam, Health PEI CEO

Hi everyone, 

I hope everyone’s 2023 is starting as well as possible. Last year was a bumpy ride, beginning with an Omicron wave that was the worst of our Pandemic experience so far, and continuing with staff resource challenges that are with us and continue to present the greatest threat to health care on the Island. Oh yes, and we can’t forget the most destructive hurricane in the Island's recorded history.

I have spoken about our many challenges very recently in media, but I want to be clear with all of you: the status quo is not acceptable. People need more access to health care services, and you all need more support to do your jobs sustainably without burning out. We’re not giving up on that.

Change has been slow coming. I know many of you are frustrated with that, and I am, too. Everyone in health care who cares about people is. Health PEI was built on an unstable foundation at a time that looked very differently from today. Undoing decades of practice was always going to take time. 

We’ve been talking about needing to make it easier to hire health care workers for two years now, and we are still just scratching the surface on that file. 

We need to change our workplace culture at all levels, so you as staff are heard and your valuable expertise and solutions are taken seriously – we’ve started that work through the People Strategy, but in the infancy stages of turning the workplace around. 

Our communication channels are still woefully outdated. We don’t have an intranet, up-to-date distribution lists for reaching people, and email is still our main way of stalking to one another. We need a website that works better for the public.

We’re still operating in silos. That’s changing, and more programs are taking truly provincial approaches. However, there is still a lack of cross pollination of ideas and excellence. We need to share everything that works across the province. 

We know what we need to do to address all these things, but we need some of the barriers, such as funding rules and hiring practice to be changed for us to succeed and I know the government has heard this message. At the crux of it, we need to do everything possible to get more people working in health care on this Island—I think we have resigned ourselves to the “fact” that it is very hard to hire people right now. It is true that there is a nation-wide healthcare labour shortage; however, we have many historic practices that make it so much harder to hire the few people who are available. 

Despite the immensity of the challenges, I’m still optimistic simply because there is no other option except to change. We are one or two breakthroughs away from changing the system in ways that allow us to recruit more staff and align services to the needs of Islanders in ways that work. 

There’s no such thing as “fixing” health care, but we can do it better. 


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