05/02/2012 08:04 EDT | Updated 07/02/2012 05:12 EDT

Call toll-free for doctor, says P.E.I. health minister

P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie is setting up a toll-free number devoted exclusively to helping Islanders find a family doctor.

Currie said there are currently about 7,000 Islanders actively searching for a doctor. He announced the new idea for helping them find one Tuesday.

Currie said another toll-free number to get Islanders on the waiting list was one that could be called for a variety of reasons. This new streamlined approach, he said, should make it easier to ensure patients don't fall through the cracks.

"I think it would be safe to say that there's certainly that reality that it probably maybe at times didn't get the attention that it needed," said Currie.

"But [this is] a single independent number that is not shared. It's a central number that people can access."

Currie said the patient registry is also moving from a very busy part of the Health Department to a section better equipped to handle this specific task.

Currie said he does not know what the average wait time is for someone on the patient registry, but he will be keeping a close eye on the list to see if the numbers drop.