Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Metis, Winnipeg MB - Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberals say the Stefanson Government needs to act immediately to shore up cardiac care and cut waitlists after a freedom of information request (FIPPA) from Shared Health showed patient deaths on the waitlist doubled since 2019, from 3 to 6 patients.
"Our hearts go out to the families of anyone who died on a waitlist, because the number of people dying on waitlists should be zero. We need dedicated investments to get cardiac waitlists down immediately," said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface. "We need the PCs to start treating this like the emergency that it is. Manitobans' lives depend on it."
The FIPPA shows that the number of Manitobans who have died on wait lists for cardiac surgery has increased.
Jon Gerrard, Manitoba Liberal Health Critic and MLA for River Heights, said there are serious risks when sending patients out of country, or even province, for surgeries, and that Manitoba needs to build up its own capacity through the University of Manitoba medical school, Colleges of Physicians and Nurses, and through investments in the St. Boniface Hospital, which is a cardiac treatment centre for the province.
"For someone to go for spinal surgery, or even an angiogram across the border can pose serious risks to patients and many logistics need to be worked out for recovery time," said Gerrard. "We need long-term solutions, and they need to start now. The PCs are not treating this as the emergency it is. We don't just need bigger ERs, we need more beds."
Other provinces like British Columbia started acting to reduce their backlog after the first wave of pandemic in 2020. In June 2021, Doctors Manitoba said surgical and diagnostic backlogs in Manitoba were a crisis. Instead of appointing a task force, Premier Heather Stefanson, who was Health Minister at the time, quit to run a leadership campaign.
"We can't let the PCs get away with saying this is a problem everywhere when their job is to address the problem in Manitoba," said Lamont. "The Manitoba PCs have no trouble spending hundreds of millions of dollars on everything but health care. We have the resources to rebuild our health care system. The PCs lack the will."