Instead of working to clear Manitoba’s surgical and diagnostic backlog by investing in Manitoba’s public health care system, the Progressive Conservative (PC) government has instead doubled down on their privatization agenda by sending millions of dollars to out-of-province private health care clinics. This private, out-of-province approach forces Manitobans to travel long distances away from friends and family to get the hip, spinal and knee surgeries they need.
Since the government announced their plan to send Manitobans out of province for surgery, we’ve raised concerns regarding the higher cost, potential complications and the efficacy of this approach. As of December 20, 2022, only 25 Manitobans underwent hip and knee surgery and 86 Manitobans received spinal surgeries outside of Manitoba. After the PCs announced an agreement with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio in August, only one person had received surgery by December. At the same time, over 100,000 Manitobans are waiting for surgery or diagnostic procedures. This raises the question of how effective the PC’s private approach really is.
Unfortunately, travelling far distances for healthcare is nothing new for northern Manitobans. The PCs have closed emergency rooms, failed to properly staff health care facilities and cut funding for the Northern Health Region, which has resulted in people having to travel further away from their home communities for care. Many northerners have to travel regularly to Winnipeg for healthcare, which can be burdensome financially and for their mental health. It’s clear that the PCs did not consult with northern Manitobans before forging ahead with their private out-of-province surgery plan, as they would have heard that travelling far distances for healthcare is not an efficient solution.
Northern Manitobans deserve quality and accessible healthcare. The Manitoba NDP will continue to advocate for and is committed to making proper investments in Manitoba’s public health care system by bolstering our ability to deliver surgical and diagnostic procedures here at home so that Manitobans can get the care they need, when they need it.
If you would like to contact me regarding the PCs surgery plan, their cuts to Northern healthcare or any concern in your community, please feel free to get in touch by email at email@example.com or by phone at 204-687-3246.