March 22, 2023
Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg MB—One day after a group of sexual assault nurse examiners resigned en masse because of PC cuts, the Manitoba NDP is calling on the Health Minister to do the right thing and resign.
“If the Health Minister cannot take responsibility for our health care system it’s time for her to resign. And if Minister Gordon won’t do it herself, the Premier needs to show leadership and ask her Health Minister to step down,” said NDP Health Care critic Uzoma Asagwara. “The Premier cannot allow her Minister to continue in this role. Manitobans expect a higher standard from their government and the Premier should demand better from her cabinet.”
The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program has been struggling to deliver services for sexual assault survivors for more than a year because of the PC’s health system mismanagement, lack of transparency and disrespect for front-line health workers. SANE nurses have publicly raised concerns about the program multiple times. They have met with the Premier and the Health Minister directly. Manitoba NDP MLAs have raised the issue multiple times in the House.
The Health Minister blamed the resignations on managers at Shared Health, the organization created by the PC government. She claimed to not know why the nurses resigned or what the issues with the program are.
The SANE program has struggled to fill shifts, forcing nurses to turn away sexual assault survivors and ask them to return later or the next day. Survivors are told to not shower or change their clothes, in order to preserve forensic evidence that could be used by law enforcement to charge the perpetrator. This creates new trauma for the victims, put their health at risk and reduces the likelihood that criminals will face consequences for their crimes.