NDP Side with Nurses, Health Workers on Bill 10

Winnipeg, MB – The Manitoba NDP announced today that Bill 10 The Regional Health Authority Amendment Act will be delayed until the fall. The NDP filed a notice in the House yesterday afternoon which formally designated Bill 10 and removed government’s ability to guarantee its passage before the House rises in June.

“Bill 10 is the legislative piece of Pallister’s rushed plan to close emergency rooms, cut health care services and establish another layer of bureaucracy to mask further cuts. It continues his pattern of ignoring the concerns of nurses and patients who say cuts are damaging our health care system,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “"The NDP is on the side of nurses, aides and other front line health care workers who are saying Bill 10 will put the health of Manitobans at risk.”

Bill 10 consolidates health care services and establishes a provincial health authority, called Shared Health. All strategic health planning and administrative powers held by the regionalized health authorities are removed.

The Manitoba Nurses Union says Bill 10 will make it easier for the Pallister government to make changes to the health care system without consulting front-line experts or the diverse communities they serve, by centralizing decision making power within Shared Health and the Minister of Health’s office. MNU notes it will have a significant impact on nurses in rural and northern communities because of reduced local decision-making ability.

“Nurses are concerned about the centralization and politicization of decision making power for health care policy in Manitoba,” said MNU President Darlene Jackson. “Bill 10 raises serious concerns for our members, as it appears to be more about fiscal restraint rather than actually improving care in our communities.”

Kinew urged the Pallister government to abandon their plan and work with nurses and other front line health care workers.

“Health care experts tell me that the farther you get from the bedside the worse care decisions you make,” he said. “The NDP trusts the expertise and commitment of nurses. We believe they should play a leadership role in our health care system.”