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From Crisis to Care: MLP Announces Plan to Rebuild Manitoba’s Public Health System

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB -

Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberal Party are announcing their first major commitments of their 2023 health platform for rebuilding the province’s broken health care system for the long-term. Today’s announcement includes a plan to end the severe shortages of physicians and other health professionals in Manitoba to cut wait lists and ensure Manitobans get the care they need on time. The plan moves the focus to prevention by making training and hiring more family physicians throughout the province a top priority. Manitoba has the lowest number of physicians per capita in Canada. According to Doctors Manitoba, we need roughly 359 more physicians to reach the national average. This does not include the estimated 348 physicians who are considering retirement, leaving the province, or reducing their clinical hours. “The PCs broke our health care system and the NDP have no plan to fix it. Manitoba Liberals are the only party with a plan that will work to fix health care for every Manitoban,” said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader. “We don’t need any more cuts to the people who work in health care. We need to cut the people who are responsible for running it into the ground – the PCs and the NDP. We need to invest in Manitobans and our own province first in order to rebuild.” The Manitoba Liberal health care platform commitments announced today include four major initiatives to rebuild Manitoba’s public health care system.

1. A system shift to prevention with a “Health Care Home” & Family Doctor for Every Manitoban

As the frontline of health care, family physicians catch small problems before they become big ones and keep patients out of crisis. Ensuring that every Manitoban has a family physician or nurse practitioner is the key to taking our health care system out of crisis for good. We know from health systems around the world that in places with more family doctors, patients are healthier and health care costs are lower. Manitoba Liberals will immediately improve the way we pay family physicians, nurse practitioners and all health professionals who support their work in clinics with top-ups and flexible pay for extra time and care spent with patients who need it, for working in teams, and for working in rural or remote locations. These measures will attract and retain people working in family medicine and support wraparound services at lower costs across Manitoba.

2. A Made-in-Manitoba solution to ending medical staffing shortages with new spaces for working and training in education and the health system

Manitoba Liberals will invest in education and new spaces for students and residents as part of a long-term strategy to ensure Manitobans can count on their public health system for care. Manitoba’s health care system depends on the University of Manitoba, its faculties of health, and other universities and colleges. For decades, these institutions have been critically underfunded as NDP and PC governments refused to fund the needed expansion of residencies and spaces for physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other health professionals. Manitoba Liberals will fund the creation of new teaching spaces and expand the number of residencies and spaces for international graduates by working with the University of Manitoba to:

a) Expand the number of new physician residencies, which will immediately increase the number of doctors working in the system. b) Invest in a new lecture hall at the Health Sciences Centre to accommodate more students.

3. Create a new Brandon Campus of the University of Manitoba Medical School dedicated to rural and northern family medicine To permanently address the challenges and chronic shortages in family medicine, nurses and other professions in rural Manitoba, Manitoba Liberals will fund the creation of a new University of Manitoba Campus of Rural and Northern Family Health in Brandon, in collaboration with Brandon University. It will focus on training people who want to work in rural and northern Manitoba in family medicine, as nurse practitioners, in nursing, and EMS. The project, which has the support of the community, will especially focus on training people from rural and northern Manitoba who want to return to their home communities to practice family medicine. This will also include the expansion of community learning programs.

4. Work with the Colleges of Physicians and Nurses to ensure Manitobans with credentials can get training and be rapidly certified to work in our public system While the PCs have been recruiting graduates from other countries, there are nurses, physicians and other graduates living in Manitoba whose credentials are being ignored. This bottleneck must be addressed. Manitoba Liberals will provide study and income supports to international graduates in Manitoba to ensure that when they move here, they can work here.

“Successive NDP and PC Governments have failed to properly plan for and invest in the education and training of health care professionals to keep up with demand. The Manitoba Liberal plan for health care addresses the gaps, particularly in rural health care, that have been left unaddressed for decades,” said Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights and Liberal Health Critic. Manitoba Liberals previously announced in April they will stabilize staffing levels with bonuses to keep and attract workers currently in the system. Nurses and health professionals who’ve stayed in the public system will be eligible for bonuses of up to $10,000; other members of health teams for bonuses up to $5,000, and $10,000 for nurses and health professionals returning to the public system for two years. Bonuses will be prorated based on the percentage of a full-time equivalent position that an employee holds and when they were hired.

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