Healthcare in Manitoba at the Breaking Point

Hello Manitoba, 

My Name is Kevin Friesen, leader of the Keystone Party of Manitoba.

I would like to speak on an issue that breaks my heart and that is the abysmal state of our healthcare system. Unfortunately, the morale within the healthcare sector has been steadily declining for years to the point of crisis and debilitating staff shortages and vacancies. We can’t continue sweeping this issue under the rug because the health and well-being of Manitobans is at stake – for both patients and healthcare professionals.

This crisis didn’t just happen overnight. It wasn’t even a consequence of the political gong show we have experienced in the last 2 years. Sadly, we are reaping the consequences of government overreach and mismanagement in healthcare that has precipitated a staggering attrition of workers – all as a result of the misguided policies of the last 6 years.

 After all the government meddling and tampering what are we left with today? We have departments in hospitals that are having to reduce hours and some have even shut their doors entirely. Emergency wait times are at unacceptable levels once again, patients are being turned away and public confidence in healthcare is crumbling. So what should the government do?

The Keystone Party implores the government to act immediately by doing the following 3 things:

#1 Recognise the chronic staffing shortage of healthcare workers is at a crisis level and commit to addressing the problem immediately. Many HCW’s have quit their jobs because the severity of stress in the workplace has exceeded the breaking point. Burnout rates are skyrocketing causing job vacancy rates to hit all time highs – well over 20% for nurses province wide. And then imagine the dreadful dilemma of having to tell loved ones that they are not allowed to visit family members in hospital. HCW’s are being subjected to situations of extreme pressure and duress on top of dealing with the heart-wrenching outcomes for families. Under those circumstances, the joy they once derived from caring for patients and comforting family has been shattered by the debilitating shortage of workers that have resulted from chronic government mismanagement.

#2 Take action now to address the staffing crisis. Simply put, worker to patient ratios must be restored to reasonable levels by funding retention and recruitment programs, mentorship initiatives, international outreach and expanding the number of positions overall. And we should start by reaching out to those that have left the profession. Frankly the government owes them a sincere apology as well as a substantial returning offer.

#3 Admit past policy failures, apologize for gutting the healthcare sector and make amends. It is high time that our government admits that mandating a personal medical choice was not worth losing hard working, caring and dedicated professionals. These are the professionals who were heroes two years ago but sadly reduced to zeros months later. Many were cast out of their chosen profession based on an arbitrary government policy that only exacerbated the staffing shortage and divided our society. We have much to mend – let’s start with an apology not only to those workers who lost their jobs but also to those who were forced to pick up the slack in an already overwhelmed system. Then the long haul of professional restoration really begins with public outreach to re-engage past workers and attract new ones.

We, the Keystone Party, believe that these are a few ways that we can restore morale and functionality to a broken healthcare system. The task ahead, albeit challenging, is relatively simple - we must provide the necessary incentive for healthcare workers to want to return to work and start attracting new talent. Without that incentive to drive recruitment it’s a foregone conclusion that our healthcare system will continue devolving into a complete catastrophe.

We are witnessing the consequences of the bad policy decisions of the past that have devastated our healthcare system and its getting worse. Many of the experts within the system are warning that it is nearing the breaking point. This crisis cannot wait until the Legislature sits again in fall. Manitobans deserve better right now. 

The Keystone Party of Manitoba believes government must be accountable to the electorate and transparent with all facts, data and records. The public has a right to know everything – especially as it relates to matters as critical as healthcare.

Kevin Friesen
Keystone Party of Manitoba

 

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