OmbudsPEI inquiry about patient registry leads to more transparency for Islanders

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Following an inquiry into how PEI patients are chosen to be assigned to a practitioner from the province’s patient registry, new information providing a more transparent understanding of how patients are assigned to practitioners is now available to Islanders.

OmbudsPEI had been contacted by a concerned individual who felt practitioners that were opening new practices or taking over existing practices in their community were taking on patients who had not been on the registry as long as others in the same community.

When OmbudsPEI reached out to Health PEI to inquire about the patient registry and its operation, we learned that engagement with the registry by Island practitioners was not required by the province, and that patients would only be assigned if practitioners voluntarily requested to receive new patients from Health PEI.

OmbudsPEI suggested that Health PEI update the information provided on its patient registry website to better represent these facts and provide Islanders seeking a family practitioner the knowledge needed to serve their medical needs best.

“We felt that the information presented on the provincial registry website, while not misleading, could be more transparent in how the registry works for Islanders,” says Sandy Hermiston, Ombudsperson and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner for PEI.

“It’s important to be transparent on the voluntary nature of the patient registry, so Islanders fully understand that they can also advocate for themselves when seeking out consistent medical care.”

Health PEI was accepting of the suggested changes, which brought its information more in line with other jurisdictions that also have a patient registry, and promptly updated its registry website with the new information. This update can be found on the Find a Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner website under the ‘After you complete the form’ heading.

A copy of the summary for this complaint file is available to the public on our website at Cases – Reports – OmbudsPEI.

Media Contact

Cody McEachern

Investigator/Communications Officer – OmbudsPEI

(902) 218-1967

About OmbudsPEI

As an independent office of the Legislature, OmbudsPEI investigates complaints of unfair treatment by government agencies and provides general oversight of government’s administrative processes under the Ombudsperson Act. The Ombudsperson has a broad mandate to investigate complaints about unfair treatment, process or decisions by public sector agencies such as government ministries, agencies boards and commissions, municipalities and Health PEI.

OmbudsPEI promotes fairness, transparency and accountability in the public sector to enhance good governance and public confidence in government.  Our work improves public services for all Islanders.

If any Islander believes they have experienced an unfairness in their interactions with a provincial agency, they can contact OmbudsPEI to explore options for making a complaint. Our services are free and confidential.

Sandy Hermiston also serves as PEI’s Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner pursuant to her appointment under the Public Interest Disclosure and Whistleblower Protection Act.  Public servants can report wrongdoing by making a protected disclosure or complaint about a reprisal to the office.  For more information about OmbudsPEI, visit Whistleblowing – OmbudsPEI.