Greater Role Needed for Churchill Health Centre

Kinew calls for training opportunities, rural health care hub in Churchill

January 22, 2018

Today, New Democratic Leader Wab Kinew called on the provincial and federal governments to create opportunities for greater use of the Churchill Health Centre by facilitating the centre’s role as a hub of northern health care, and to create training opportunities for health care aides and nurses in the north.

Kinew visited Churchill on January 19th and 20th, met with local leadership and residents, visited several important town venues, and hosted a town hall on the future of Churchill, including health care. Kinew is the first leader of a political party to visit Churchill since the rail line washed out in May of 2017.

The Churchill Health Centre has all of the required facilities to operate a regional health centre, including a world-class airport, staffed emergency room, emergency ambulance services, and an operating room. Kinew noted that providing health care in the north creates jobs and brings investments to northern communities, helping ensure both healthy communities and strong economies.

“Good health care, close to home, is the bedrock of rural and northern communities. What I heard from local leadership in the town is that all the pieces are in place to make greater use of Churchill as a health care hub, for Manitoba and Nunavut,” said Kinew. “Often we’re flying patients to Winnipeg for treatment, which could be avoided by making greater use of the facilities we already have in Churchill, while bringing investments into the community. Provincial and federal governments could be leaders and help patients with shorter response times, care close to home, and a culturally-appropriate environment.”

Kinew also heard that the health centre can play a greater role in training health professionals like nurses and health care aides.

“The Churchill Health Centre is in a position to offer training opportunities to health care aides and nurses to allow them a chance to learn what it’s like to practice in northern communities. We know that staff trained in the north are more likely to stay in the north,” said Kinew. “We need to see more professionals setting down roots in northern communities, and this is one of the ways we can make that happen.”