Investment in health care is crucial

By Matt Wiebe - MLA for Concordia

As published in The Herald

February 9, 2017

The recent closure of the QuickCare Clinic on St. Mary’s Road came as a real shock to my constituents and many Manitobans.

This was the nearest community clinic to our area and families in northeast Winnipeg, including my own, have come to rely on its quick and efficient service. Its closure leaves a big gap in the delivery of health services in our neighbourhood.

The former government built several QuickCare Clinics across Manitoba to provide non-urgent care close to home for families and seniors. Staffed by nurse practitioners, the clinics were part of a larger movement towards community based health care that takes pressure off hospital emergency rooms and improves access to care for families and seniors.

The government decided to close the clinic without undertaking meaningful consultation with the community or front-line health care professionals. They also failed to wait for recommendations from their own wait times task force or consultant’s report on Manitoba’s health care system. Most importantly, they failed to consider the needs of Manitoba families and seniors, and the importance of investing in quality community health care.

The health minister has said the clinic is closing due to a shortage of staff. But rather than closing clinics in an effort to find savings within Manitoba’s health care system, the health minister should be investing in training for more nurses and nurse practitioners to staff these clinics.

Manitoba has reported some of the longest emergency room wait times in the country, and wait times at our local Concordia hospital are the longest in the province. This situation is unacceptable. Community health care can be a part of the solution if we want to see real change.

QuickCare Clinics have been making some improvements in wait times, but many families and seniors have told me much more needs to be done. They are asking the government to open more clinics and lengthen the hours of service, rather than close them down. Families and seniors value front line services, particularly in health care, and don’t want to see any cuts.

If you would like to sign a petition protesting the closure of the St. Mary’s QuickCare clinic, you can visit my office at 106-1111 Munroe Ave. You may also voice your concerns by emailing me at Matt.Wiebe@YourManitoba.ca

I believe that everyone should have access to care, no matter the size of their wallet. Investments in public, community initiatives like our QuickCare clinics are crucial to building our province’s health care system and improving access for every Manitoban.