Health-care cuts affect local families
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This article was published 09/02/2022 (474 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
As we near two years of the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba, the Omicron variant continues to push our health-care system to the brink. Throughout January, we saw day after day of hospitalizations nearing capacity and frontline healthcare workers reaching their breaking point.
After years of funding freezes and cuts by the Progressive Conservatives, coupled with a hasty consolidation that created more bureaucracy and less supports at the bedside, our system has been strained more severely than other provinces during this pandemic.
From closing the Concordia Emergency Room and Misericordia Urgent Care, to firing nurses and the loss of intensive-care beds in communities, this government’s underfunding of the health-care system has had consequences.
Not only has our ability to provide adequate care to our sickest patients been affected, but our hospitals also lack the capacity to care for all patients in the system. Manitobans are experiencing long delays in getting tests, consultations and appointments for important medical procedures, and the surgery backlog has been steadily increasing with over 152,000 Manitobans now on the waiting list.
At Concordia Hospital, a Winnipeg family was reduced to tears and distress after an elderly loved one with advanced dementia, was transferred hundreds of kilometres away from home to make room for COVID-19 patients. The Apalit family reached out to the Manitoba NDP to shed light on this issue and to demand the PC government to do better. Since October, over 250 Manitoba families have been forced to say goodbye to a loved one as they are transported hours away for healthcare — leaving families unable to be at the bedside and pay out of pocket to visit their loved ones.
At the height of the Omicron wave, Premier Stefanson conceded that her government wouldn’t be able to protect everyone and said “…its up to Manitobans to look after themselves.”
This statement epitomizes her response to the pandemic, first as heath minister during the second and third waves, and now as premier. Rather than admitting the health-care system is in crisis, she refuses to be held accountable for her government’s cuts and take the steps necessary to create capacity and protect Manitobans.
We believe the government has an important role to play in protecting Manitobans by upholding public health orders, getting vaccinated, and investing in our healthcare system.
If you are personally feeling the impacts of Manitoba’s broken health-care system, please don’t hesitate to contact me and to share your story. I can be reached at email@example.com or at 204-654-1857.
Concordia constituency report
Matt Wiebe is the NDP MLA for Concordia.