Greg Selinger promised a re-elected NDP government would hire more nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants as he continued to characterize the Tories as a threat to public health care.

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Greg Selinger promised a re-elected NDP government would hire more nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants as he continued to characterize the Tories as a threat to public health care.

At a community centre in St. Vital on Tuesday, Selinger said his party is committed to recruiting another 50 nurse practitioners, 50 physician assistants and 25 midwives over the next four years.

He said while his opponents have made health care promises, they've been silent on how they would ensure that any new or expanded facilities were properly staffed.

"Today, we're announcing we will maintain those training spaces," Selinger said.

"Otherwise we slow the flow of qualified people coming into our system. We saw that the last time the Conservatives were in power. They wiped out the LPN (licensed practical nurse) program. Well, it took several years to get that back and now we're training more than ever. And they provide a very important role at all of our facilities."

Under the NDP, the province has found it difficult to recruit sufficient numbers of midwives. The promise of 25 more would be an increase of about 45 per cent over current numbers.

Selinger said the NDP is counting on the recent revamping of a provincial training program for midwives to pay big dividends and boost numbers.

Earlier in the election campaign, the NDP promised to double the number of QuickCare clinics in the province. The clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and registered nurses.

New Democrats have also vowed to complete plans for another 1,000 personal care home beds — in addition to the 350 beds now in construction or in the latter stages of planning — over the next four years.

Asked about the Progressive Conservative plan announced Tuesday to add 1,200 new nursing home beds over eight years, Selinger responded that there is no commitment from the Tories to ensure the new homes would be properly staffed. He also said that it's difficult to tell from the PC pledge how many new beds would come on stream over the next few years.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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