Treaty One Territory, Métis Homeland, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals say the PCs are misleading Manitobans about wait times, especially for cataract surgeries, because thousands of people are waiting for months or years, not weeks, as the Manitoba Government is claiming.
The National Benchmark for cataract surgeries is 16 weeks, and the PCs are claiming the average wait is 17 weeks because they are only defining "wait time" as the time between booking a surgery and getting it - not the time between diagnosis and treatment, which can be months or years.
CIHI statistics show that wait times for hip and knee replacements and cataract surgeries in Manitoba, which were already bad under the NDP, got progressively worse every single year under the PCs, even before the pandemic.
During the pandemic, the number of surgeries dropped as physicians and others were moved to Covid duties.
"We have children who need procedures who are literally waiting half their young lives before their vision can be fixed," said Lamont. "By sweeping the problem of thousands of people waiting for years to be scheduled for surgery under the rug, the PCs can avoid solving it. That is not acceptable."
Lamont also said private clinics can't solve the issue since they focus on easier cases, leaving more complicated ones to the public system.
"Private clinics are just not equipped to deal with tough cases, which means the way the PCs are managing eye health, the sicker you are, the longer you will wait," said Lamont. "Manitoba's surgery backlogs are some of the worst in Canada, and we need a plan to clear them. We cannot be fiddling with the numbers to pretend there's no problem."