Wee Oliver had his 15 month checkup and immunizations at Public Health here in Charlottetown yesterday. I can’t say enough good things about the people at Public Health: they are a bunch of caring, knowledgeable professionals who are making raising a child that little bit easier.

We take their services for granted here on the Island, but their role is diminished or non-existent in other jurisdictions. Our friends in Nova Scotia, for example, didn’t get a helpful series of home visits from a public health nurse during the first months of their child’s life like we did.

And yesterday we learned of a new benefit: for $15/year, the Province will cover the cost of Oliver’s regular dentistry from now until the time he’s 17 years old. I remember the child dental benefit being held up as a campaign promise by the David Petersen Liberals back in the late 1980s in Ontario and going nowhere; it’s surprising (and heartening) to see that the dream came alive here on PEI.


Alan's picture
Alan on January 12, 2002 - 20:45 Permalink

You’ve been lucky with the Public Health, Peter. Like any group of people, they run the full scale and we have been both delighted and dismayed by what we have been told by way of health advice. Fortunately, the further we went into the system we met more and more competant workers. The pre-natal classes were a cross between 1950’s nuclear safety classroom movies (“duck and cover”) and a multi-week add for formula companies. Also, while the natal unit is very well funded and staffed and generally most caring, there was one hitch: they had no process for identifying fathers such as wrist bands and a few whacked among the gowned sought to restrict my access to my child in a purely irritating game of bean-pushery that would shame an East German aparachik — all on the first days of my time with my daughter. [Oddly, I would think newborns are not generally stolen by men.] The dental is a gem, though I think that is not unique as NS have the same system when I was growing up. I wish — as in so many ways — it was politically correct here to point out the obvious, that PEI is not a stand alone economy/society and we stopped trying to get local specialist services that can be supplied in Halifax, Moncton and St. John. A focus on local basic health might get a clinic in Rustico and Crapeau and a 911 system that does not veritually guarantee death by heart attack in these parts despite the local defribulator and trained volunteers. If Maritime Canada worked even more as one health care unit than it does now, there would be more bang for the buck…and the ill would not have to pay for the bridge. The one government unit that most shines for us is the adoptions office which has made meeting our second addition an incredibly easy process. When I think of it there is another which worked better than I have seen anywhere else — the automobile licences bureau! Go figure.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 12, 2002 - 20:51 Permalink

I agree with your assessment of the pre-natal classes, Alan. We went to one, and only one. That was enough to convince us that between our doula and our OB/GYN and our own reading, we were better off without them. It wasn’t so much the material being covered, as the ill-at-ease-ness of the public health nurse delivering the sessions: she was truly unskilled at teaching to a group of people, especially a group of people with diversity of income and attitude. We did later do on the hospital visit part of the pre-natal classes, and that was invaluable, as it made actually arriving in Labor and Delivery on Oliver’s birthday a [slightly] more comfortable experience.

And I agree with your about the motor vehicle people: I’ve found them all universally helpful and pleasant, which is much more than I can say about my experiences with their Ontario counterparts. I’ve also found the people who organize the Access PEI centres very responsive to consumer feedback.

All this reminds me of the old system in Ontario where everyone’s vehicle registration used to come up for renewal on the same day: every year there would be stories on the local TV news about the long, long lines of people who went in at the last minute to do their renewal. Fortunately Ontario (and everyone else, near as I can tell) moved to a system where your vehicle registration expires on your birthday, which nicely spaces things out over the course of the year.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 13, 2002 - 13:54 Permalink

In Nova Scotia, the licence renewals were tied to the first of the month so there were 12 nutty line-up days. Before we left Ontario in 1997, the separate office for licencing was privatized and, in Pembroke, that meant it was cramped grotty and filled with underpaid, overworked and grumpy folk. The Charlottetown office is spacious, well organized, well staffed and even have a kookie drive-through that neither I or anyone I have seen use but it strikes me as an example of incredible attention to detail. It even has a TV set with the sound off only to the text news page as opposed to a blaring soap opera you run into too often.

I think we were in the same pre-natal class! We went to them all but they were — unheard of until that time for a government activity — on Friday night which made everyone a little restless. The tour was the most useful part, though the real surprise for me on the big day was the very friendly and experienced nurse who said with four hours to go “she really has no idea you are still here — I’ll take care of her”. Not having a doula involved I got no dirty looks for taking the advice. I went off to discover the cafeteria (best meal value in town) and watch NFL (very Freddie Flinstonian birthing experience) with the doctor until we were called in. [He had his black and red rubber booted feet up on the table as we commented on the game. I thought his attire was just being really laid back until the actual birth took place.]

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on January 14, 2002 - 15:43 Permalink

My wife had a medical problem about 3 weeks after the birth of our son, which resulted in her being in the hospital for a couple of weeks. I was left at home with the baby. When the nurses (I think there were two?) came to visit our home, they couldn’t quite comprehend that I (a husband) was handling the situation quite well.
They were very suspicious of the fact that I was coping.