Needs of Manitobans must come first

By Matt Wiebe, MLA for Concordia

As published in The Herald July 21, 2017

In the past few months the government has made sweeping changes to our health care system and imposed budget cuts that have a real-life impact on patient care.

In northeast Winnipeg, the government’s decision to close the emergency room at the Concordia Hospital has been a hard pill to swallow. Earlier this month, the government announced they will close four more QuickCare clinics in Winnipeg, leaving families and seniors with even less access to primary health care. On top of these closures, the government is reducing the ratios of staff-to-patients in hospitals, increasing fees for long-term care seniors, and making patients pay out of pocket for physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

These decisions further impact the integrity of important health resources and undermine health care for families in our province.

Many Concordia residents and families have been adamantly vocalizing their concerns that these health care cuts are more about the bottom line than the front-line. Despite hundreds of petitions, Manitobans are being forced to take a backseat to this government’s uncompromising austerity plans. I’ve been proud to support our community members in their tireless efforts to push against these austerity measures as we brace ourselves for the changes to come.

The government actions are putting more pressure on the health care workers we trust to deliver our care. The closure of ERs and total system-wide change has created disruption and confusion in our health care system, jeopardizing patient care. Rather than increasing access, the government has created a bottleneck in our system, which will slow services and inevitably put patient care at risk.

Seniors are taking a big blow in these health care changes. The new fee increases for long-term care swiftly followed the government’s move to bring in private homecare services. The price for the government’s health care decisions should not be put on the backs of our seniors, especially at a time when they are already vulnerable.

The needs of Manitobans should always come first when it comes to making any changes to our health care system. Families are concerned and are looking for better solutions for patient care. I am committed to continuing our work to save the health care resources that Manitobans rely on.

If you have any questions or would like to share your ideas for Concordia, feel free to call me at 204-654-1857 or visit my website at www.MattWiebe.ca