Manitoba NDP Leader Demands PCs Stop Westman Health Cuts
On day three of a Caucus retreat with his NDP team in Brandon, Leader Wab Kinew condemned the PC government’s cuts to ambulance services and other health care in Westman, and promised the NDP would continue to fight for better care for families.
“Health care cuts in Manitoba didn’t end once Brian Pallister left the Premier’s chair. In fact, the PC’s cuts to Westman services are just getting started,” said Kinew. “From delayed ambulances to burnt out nurses to understaffed long-term care homes—years of their cuts have damaged health care in Manitoba Westman and put families at risk. Our team is in Brandon to show our commitment to fighting PC health care cuts and standing up for Westman families.”
Since closing half the emergency rooms in Winnipeg and cutting frontline workers, the PC government has turned its sights towards other health regions, including Prairie Mountain. Now paramedic services are struggling to adequately staff and cover Westman and the surrounding regions after years of PC cuts to EMS training programs and vacancy management tactics to cut costs. In Brandon, NDP caucus members heard how paramedics are stretched thin, understaffed and often have to cover enormous regions, meaning it takes longer for them to reach patients, and once a patient is in the ambulance, their needs are more acute.
Health care leaders also flagged a need to hire more 911 dispatch operators and to invest in a more modern and spacious workplace to accommodate the dispatch centers’ increasing needs, like technical communication with STARS and private space for counselling after difficult calls.
“No one should struggle to get quality health care because of where they live. In 2016 the PCs ran on a commitment to stand up for rural communities, but since taking office they’ve done nothing but cut services and make life harder for families,” said Kinew. “Strong, reliable health care across the province is the NDP’s number one priority. Unlike the PC’s we’ll fight for a system that helps everyone.”