Healthcare in crisis
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/11/2022 (181 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba has experienced years of reckless health care cuts under the PC government, led by former Premier Brian Pallister and current Premier Heather Stefanson. To make matters worse, the Premier is now pushing for further privatization of health care services.
They’ve already cut and privatized key health care services such as outpatient physiotherapy services, sleep apnea machines and life flight medical air ambulance transportation, as well as privatizing home care services for seniors, rather than adequately investing in the public health care system. This privatization of health care services has reduced the quality and access to these services, something that is of concern to all Manitobans.
The PCs’ cuts and underfunding of our public healthcare system disproportionately harms those who depend on it the most, such as seniors and people with lower incomes. These health care funding cuts have increased staffing shortages, and have contributed to high ER wait times. Rather than filling major staffing vacancies in the public system by hiring nurses, the PCs are instead spending more money than ever on private agency nurses. Last year alone they spent over $40 million on private agency nurses, a dramatic increase from the $14 million that was spent in 2017. Spending more money on private health care will not solve the current problems in our health care system.
The PCs have also failed to address working conditions that have resulted in many frontline health care heroes struggling with burnout and extreme stress. Nurses are having to deal with mandatory overtime that only exacerbates these problems. These working conditions have caused many workers to retire early or to leave the system altogether and find a new career path.
We cannot think of healthcare workers as “one-time use” bandages which will solve systemic issues in Manitoba. The PCs should address the systemic staff vacancies, particularly in rural and northern areas, and the poor working conditions health care workers are subject to. Systemic changes are key to ensuring that we retain the health care workers in our public system, as retention is just as important as finding additional workers to fill staff vacancies.
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The Maples constituency report
Mintu Sandhu is the NDP MLA for The Maples.