Prince Edward Island Joins with Canada's New Government to Announce Patient Wait Times Guarantee

    OTTAWA, April 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Tony Clement, Federal
Minister of Health, and the Honourable Chester Gillan, Minister of Health for
Prince Edward Island, today announced that Prince Edward Island will establish
a Patient Wait Times Guarantee for radiation therapy by March 31, 2010, to be
supported by $12.1 million in federal funding. Prince Edward Island will also
be eligible to benefit from the $400 million in new funding for Canada Health
Infoway, and the $30 million for pilot projects as announced in Budget 2007.
    "I would like to congratulate Prince Edward Island for joining the other
provinces and territories in undertaking its first Patient Wait Times
Guarantee," said Minister Clement. "Thanks to this agreement, we are building
together a better health care system for all Canadians by guaranteeing timely
access to health care in the area of radiation therapy."
    To lay the groundwork for this Patient Wait Times Guarantee, Prince
Edward Island will undertake a pilot project to assess the capacity and
recourse options for radiation therapy. Residents who are at risk of waiting
longer than the eight-week timeframe of being considered 'ready to treat' will
be given the opportunity to receive timely access to radiation therapy at
another public health institution within the Maritime region, Quebec and
Ontario. The details for the implementation of the radiation therapy guarantee
will be determined through the pilot project.
    Minister Gillan said: "This effort builds on the investments that the
province has made in enhancing access to healthcare over the past number of
years. Examples of investments include our new Cancer Treatment Centre, the
increased number of healthcare professionals in the province, recent
investments in orthopedic services, and our new Prince County Hospital."
    This announcement marks another step forward by Canada's New Government
as it continues to work towards ensuring that all Canadians receive medically
necessary treatment within clinically acceptable wait times.
    "Today's announcement represents an important point in improving the
health care system in Prince Edward Island," said the Honourable Peter MacKay,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and
Regional Minister for Prince Edward Island. "Canadians expect us to work
together in their best interest and that is exactly what we have done."
    Canada's New Government intends to provide up to $612 million in a
Patient Wait Times Guarantee Trust, $400 million for health information
technology through Infoway, an organization which is making significant
progress in working with provinces and territories to implement electronic
health records, and $30 million over three years to provinces and territories
for pilot projects related to establishing guarantees.
    Today's announcement complements a number of previously launched pilot
projects toward achieving timely access to better care. These include three
which are designed to test guarantees for prenatal and diabetes care in
selected First Nations communities, while a fourth is a national paediatric
pilot project to address wait times for children in need of surgery.

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For further information:

For further information: Media Inquiries: Carole Saindon, Health Canada,
(613) 957-1588; Rita Smith, Office of the Honourable Tony Clement, Federal
Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Rod Stanley, PEI Department of Health,
(902) 368-4275; Public Inquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709; Health
Canada news releases are available on the Internet at

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