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A STRUGGLING economy hasn't put a cap on health-care spending, with the biggest chunk of Manitoba's budget going towards things like reducing wait lists and paying for the cost of drugs.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/03/2009 (5065 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A STRUGGLING economy hasn’t put a cap on health-care spending, with the biggest chunk of Manitoba’s budget going towards things like reducing wait lists and paying for the cost of drugs.

Overall, the province will spend more than $4.3 billion on health care — up from $4.1 billion in 2008. Health care continues to eat up the largest part of the province’s budget, accounting for more than 37 per cent of Manitoba’s total expenditures.

The spike in spending sparked ire from critics, who slammed the Doer government for escalating costs they say haven’t improved patient care and aren’t sustainable.


Health Minister Theresa Oswald said the province isn’t going to repeat the mistakes that were made during the last recession, and the moderate increase in spending reflects a commitment to improving health care.

Oswald said the province will invest in grants to lure doctors to rural areas that need them most and medical technologies that reduce patient stays in hospital — programs that will help stretch health dollars in the long run.

"We are in very challenging economic times but we’re not going to make the decisions that were made a decade ago in tough economic times," Oswald said. "We’re not going to cut spaces to medical school, we’re not going to fire nurses, we’re not going to freeze capital spending and have our health care facilities crumble."

Tory health critic Myrna Driedger said the Doer government needs to prevent chronic diseases to stave off escalating health-care costs in the future. She said the increase in spending isn’t sustainable, and may take money away from other areas in need.

"It would be one thing if you are getting a bang for your buck, but we don’t even have a sense that patient outcomes are improved with all the resources they’re putting in there," Driedger said.

— Jen Skerritt


Health care: $200 million

What it buys

A training program for midwives in southern Manitoba, new ambulances, a new aboriginal personal care home in Winnipeg, training for intensive care nurses, retention strategies to keep doctors in northern and rural Manitoba and doubling the number of scholarships for aboriginal medical students.

What it means

The province is keeping mum on many of the specifics of its health-care funding, but is being careful not to cut services during the recession.

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