Health care fight just getting started

By Matt Wiebe - MLA for Concordia

As published in The Herald

April 27, 2017

By now, you’ve probably heard about the sweeping cuts to our health care system and the proposed closure of the emergency room at Concordia Hospital.

These changes will transition two ERs into urgent care centres while completely closing the public point of contact for Misericordia and Concordia Hospitals. This would effectively force all residents of northeast Winnipeg to St. Boniface and the Health Sciences Centre for emergency care.

These cuts to our ERs completely blindsided not only the hospital staff, but also citizens who believed that their front-line services would be protected. With roughly 30,000 people per year using Concordia’s ER and approximately 40,000 at Misericordia, the loss of these facilities will severely strain the remaining ERs.

The ER closures come on top of already announced cuts to health care in our area. A personal care home project in Transcona; the Concordia Health and Fitness Centre; the Concordia Hospital Home Team, and the closest QuickCare Clinic to our community have all recently been cancelled. Taken together, these represent the biggest cuts to our health care system in a generation, and northeast Winnipeg has been disproportionately affected.

The community has responded and has begun to let the government know they won’t lose their ER without a fight. A rally on the front steps of the hospital brought together hundreds of community members and health care workers to protest. I also held a community meeting with Daniel Blaikie, Member of Parliament for Elmwood-Transcona, where more than a hundred constituents came out to share their personal stories and how these cuts will affect them and their families.

This fight is just getting started and it’s not too late for the government to reverse its decision. I encourage all citizens to get involved by sending a clear message to this government to stop cutting front-line service in our neighbourhood.

Petitions are being circulated throughout the community that I will continue to present daily in the legislature. If you would like to sign your name or take copies to your friends and family, please contact my office. We can also keep you informed of upcoming rallies and planned events. And please contact your local MLA and tell them what you think about losing health services in your community.

I will continue to fight to improve health care in our community and to stop the cuts to our front-line services. If you have any questions or would like to share your ideas or concerns, feel free to call me at 204-654-1857, or visit my website at www.MattWiebe.ca.