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Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pledges medical school at UPEI

New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh launches his election campaign at the Goodwill Centre in London, Ontario on Sept. 11, 2019.
New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh poses for a photo at the Goodwill Centre in London, Ont. on Sept. 11, 2019. - Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Jagmeet Singh says he has a solution for health-care wait times on P.E.I.

The federal New Democratic Party leader issued a press statement Wednesday pledging to establish a medical faculty at the University of Prince Edward Island.

“P.E.I. residents shouldn’t have to leave the province just to get care,” Singh said in the statement. 

“When you’re feeling sick, you shouldn’t be forced to drive for hours to see a doctor. People deserve better.”

The statement claims P.E.I. is the only province in Canada without a medical school. The statement also says Premier Dennis King and Jagmeet Singh “recently spoke about a federal partnership in helping end wait times.”

Both Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and Memorial University in Newfoundland have medical schools. The University of New Brunswick does not have a medical school, but its Saint John campus houses a satellite campus of the Dalhousie medical school.

The provincial government provides funding for Island students to study medicine at both Dalhousie and Memorial. During the last provincial election, P.E.I.’s NDP pledged to establish a medical faculty at UPEI in its platform. The municipalities of Charlottetown and Summerside have both endorsed the idea and King has stated he has spoken to UPEI president Alla Abd-El-Aziz about the idea.

Few details have been released about whether such a faculty would be an offshoot of Dalhousie Medical school, what its cost might be or whether the current residency program for medical students on P.E.I. would need to be expanded.

Over 14,000 Islanders are currently without a family doctor.

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