Treaty One Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberal Leader, Dougald Lamont, and Rhonda Nichol, Candidate for MLA in Kirkfield Park, released five planks of their health care platform for setting out how Manitoba Liberals will transform the health care system.
Nichol is currently working as a research nurse for clinical trials at CancerCare and worked for 29 years as a nurse at the Grace Hospital in Kirkfield Park.
Nichol began by talking about why she chose to run for MLA — she had exhausted her options advocating within the system.
“I’ve worked in a system where great people are doing their best to provide care with minimal support from this government,” said Nichol. “If elected MLA for Kirkfield Park, I will organize a town hall at the Grace Hospital. We will also set up a phone hotline for frontline workers to my office so that they can reach me directly and in confidence.”
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said the Manitoba Liberals are the only party with a plan to address the dysfunction within health care under decades of mismanagement by the PCs and NDP.
“We know the PCs have been a disaster for health care in Manitoba, but that’s no excuse to give the NDP a pass. There are plenty of people who were mistreated, ignored, underpaid, and let down when the NDP were in power,” said Lamont. “We have a plan to reinvest and rebuild our health system by focusing on prevention. We are offering a revolution in improving health care for Manitoba. Prevention saves lives, keeps people healthier, and costs less in the long run.”
KIRKFIELD PARK Health Care Mini-Platform
1. A Revolution in Prevention - Starting with Family Doctors and Health Care Teams
We want to ensure all Manitobans have a family doctor who they know, trust, can help keep people healthy, and catch their medical problems as early as possible so they can get the treatment they need on time.
We’ll do that by working with doctors and medical teams to negotiate more flexible pay, so doctors can spend extra time with patients who really need it - seniors, expectant mothers, and folks with more complicated issues.
We’ll reward clinics that have interdisciplinary teams, including nurse practitioners and various allied health professionals working together, to ensure better care across Manitoba, including rural and northern areas. We will commit to having evening shifts at Access Centres.
We’ll expand the role of the Manitoba Chief Public Health Officer to focus more on prevention of conditions like diabetes, and lead and radon exposures. There is no safe level of lead exposure, especially in children. Radon, found in many homes across the province, is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It will also include having the Public Health Officer report on activities and plans annually before a Legislative Committee.
We will restore the coverage of the cost of life-saving drugs, including diabetes drugs, and devices for all Manitobans, such as pumps, CGMs, and CPAP machines.
We will restore outpatient physiotherapy in Manitoba’s hospitals.
This is NOT about new technology or building expensive new facilities. It is about making sure that people are working together to the best of their ability. 2. Mental Health Care is Health Care
Manitoba is in a mental health crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Manitoba is seeing increased rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
We will regulate psychotherapy to ensure it is affordable and accessible to those who may need it. This will also help ensure those practicing therapy are qualified to do so and are held more accountable to the services they provide to best protect Manitobans.
3. Freedom to Speak: Making the Health Care System a Better Place to Work
We're going to make the health care system a better place to work. That is the only way we can keep people in the system, as well as attract others who will stay.
We need to encourage people to speak up. Right now, they can be punished even for speaking the truth. When you see something wrong, it has to be ok and safe to speak up.
The person who speaks up should be commended and supported for speaking up, and the person who's in the wrong needs to be corrected. No NDAs should ever be used in these cases. We have reintroduced a bill that will ban the use of NDAs in the workplace except for protecting intellectual property.
As predicted by experts, our ERs are jammed because the PCs closed hospitals and restricted the number of beds, leaving people backed up in ERs and hallways. We will empower community hospitals to reopen spaces.
4. Attracting, Training, and Retaining Doctors and Health Professionals
The University of Manitoba and other post-secondary institutions play an essential role as part of our health care system - research, training, collaboration, and more.
A Manitoba Liberal Government will work with the University of Manitoba and other institutions by investing to increase the capacity for training and for recognizing credentials.
We will increase the number of residency spaces in Manitoba and invest in teaching capacity. We will fund health care based on equity in Manitoba - paying more in rural and northern areas.
There are currently people living in Manitoba who are fully qualified doctors and nurses who are eligible to work elsewhere, but not eligible to work in Manitoba. We will work with the regulators and Canada’s post-secondary institutions to get them working. We will work to ensure that they have the financial and regulatory support they need to get their credentials recognised.
5. Holding the Health System to Account - Opening up the $6 billion Black Box
In all the years they have existed, since the 1990s, the organizations that run the health care system with a $6 billion budget have never had to explain decision-making to the Manitoba Legislature.
Shared Health and the Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) do not report to the Legislature —decision-making and directives given by the Provincial Government are never examined.
Manitoba Liberals have introduced a bill that would require the CEO and Board Chair of RHAs to answer questions at public committee hearings. Whether you are a patient, a community member, or work in health care, getting answers from RHAs and Shared Health about their decisions and directives is decades overdue. The NDP and PCs both opposed it. We're going to bring it back and get it passed.
6. Fair, Equitable, and Transparent Health Funding - Reversing Harper’s Unjust Changes to the Federal Health Formula
In 2014, the Harper Government changed the way it funds health care. It used to be paid based on “equity” - on different provinces’ different needs, and replaced it with a strict per-capita model. Nine out of ten provinces lost health care funding - including Manitoba.
Even as the current Federal Government has massively increased transfers to Manitoba, that funding hasn’t made its way to health care.
Manitoba Liberals want the Federal Government to improve health care funding by making sure it is:
a. Equitable: Funding based on the needs of our province - including population and seniors
b. Targeted: Federal health funding to dedicate streams for specific projects - mental health care, seniors, Indigenous, prevention, diabetes, and a national pharmacare program.