More than 600 Northerners Wait for Life-Saving Procedures Amidst Health Cuts

December 17, 2021

Treaty 5 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Thompson MB—Over the last five months, hundreds of northern Manitobans have been sitting on wait lists waiting for endoscopies, a potentially life-saving diagnostic procedure.

"Northerners work hard, pay their taxes and contribute to our society. In return, our government is supposed to deliver the health care services they need as quickly as possible,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “With every passing day, someone on this list could be having a medical issue that becomes progressively worse and harder to treat. PC mismanagement and cuts mean people are waiting months to be diagnosed. We can fix this crisis but we have to start by immediately adding more health care workers into our hospitals.”

Government documents show there were over 630 people waiting for an endoscopy in the Northern Health Region at the end of October 2021. The number has been steadily rising since June 2021, while the number of procedures done has dropped, with just 17 performed in August of this year. According to the document slates were reduced from July 20th “due to staffing resources”.

Kinew repeated his call for the PC Leader to ask the federal government for military support.

“By calling in the military, Manitoba could have access to not just nurses, but doctors, health care professionals and support staff who can all help to eliminate the backlog,” said Kinew. “There’s no harm in asking for help, and Manitobans are relying on their government to find a solution. This is not the time for egos.”

Kinew also noted the document cites a formula used by the Manitoba Wait Times Task Force to determine the wait times for endoscopies and other procedures. The PC government has so far refused to provide the number of Manitobans waiting for diagnostic tests and surgeries, arguing the statistics are not tracked centrally.