Kinew Condemns Pallister Government for Growing Surgery Wait Times

March 27, 2019

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew pointed to the Pallister government’s cuts to health care as the cause of growing wait times for priority surgical procedures. Wait time benchmark numbers were released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information on Thursday.

“These numbers reveal our health care system has been deeply damaged from Brian Pallister’s cuts,” said Kinew. “Fewer Manitobans are having the surgery they need in time, meaning they are waiting for months in pain and discomfort. This is what happens when the government only focuses on cutting costs and ignores the needs of patients.”

The data shows the percentage of Manitobans who had the surgery they need within the recommended time-frame has plummeted for several common procedures. The percentage of people needing hip replacements who had surgery within six months fell from 66% in 2016 to 49% in 2018. Knee replacements declined from 58% in 2016 to 37% in 2018. Cataract surgeries also fell from 34% in 2016 to 29% in 2018.

Kinew noted the previous NDP government had been making steady progress on improving access to hip, knee and cataract surgeries within the recommended benchmarks. In 2014 71% of Manitobans needing hip replacements got surgery within the timeline—a 22% improvement over the Pallister government’s rate.

“Manitoba was moving in a positive direction until Brian Pallister started making cuts,” said Kinew. “His short sighted decisions to cut the services that keep people healthy—closing the Misericordia Urgent Care, closing community clinics and cutting outpatient physiotherapy—are just increasing the number of Manitobans needing expensive and painful surgeries and making them wait longer."