Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/4/2018 (674 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It is impossible to talk about health care in northeast Winnipeg today without the conversation immediately turning to the cloud that is hanging over our Concordia ER.
The ER’s closure has been delayed indefinitely, possibly until spring 2019, after the provincial government’s Wait Times Task Force warned ER closures were happening too fast and without the proper supports.
On March 25, I was pleased to host a town hall meeting on health care at Kildonan East Collegiate with my colleague Matt Wiebe, MLA for Concordia. In addition to discussing ideas for health care reform that can save money and expand service, like a national Pharmacare Plan, the town hall provided an opportunity for local residents to hear directly from frontline health care workers about changes in local health services.
Well over 100 area residents came out to voice their concern about the ER closure and to ask questions of people working in the system.
The overwhelming theme of the afternoon was the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the changes to health services in northeast Winnipeg and across the province. People are unsure where to go if they suddenly need medical attention. Health care workers are concerned about how long their job is going to last.
We heard a number of examples of how disorganization in this transition stage has overloaded departments and affected workers to the extent of worsening service delivery to patients. Our panel included: Pat Waldron, Local MNU president for Concordia nurses; Debbie Boissonneault, CUPE 204 president and Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU president.
On Jan. 10 of this year, I asked the health minister to reveal is plan for health services in northeast Winnipeg. It is hard to believe that a government would make such big changes in health care delivery without a plan. But the lack of response, coupled with confusion among community members, patients and health care workers is beginning to make me wonder.
I was pleased to see a strong presence at the meeting by the community group Save the Concordia ER. This grassroots, non-partisan coalition has been active since soon after the ER closures were announced one year ago. They are presently conducting a postcard campaign directed at local MLAs, some of whom have remained silent on the cuts to northeast Winnipeg health services.
If you share their concern, please consider participating in their campaign.
Public pressure continues to mount on the provincial government to reverse its decision to close the Concordia ER. With the help of everyone concerned, I am still hopeful we can succeed.
Elmwood-Transcona constituency report.
Daniel Blaikie is the NDP MP for Elmwood-Transcona.