NDP Sound Alarm Over Return of Hallway Medicine in Winnipeg

April 20, 2021

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB—NDP Leader Wab Kinew and St. James MLA Adrien Sala, stood with representatives from MAHCP and MNU outside Grace Hospital to call attention to an alarming resurgence of “hallway medicine” at the facility.

“Manitobans who can remember health care under the last PC government will know what hallway medicine means: chaos for nurses and inhumane conditions for their loved ones,” said Kinew. “The PCs ER closures caused longer wait times and added additional stress to our frontline healthcare workers before the pandemic and now that we’re in the third wave hallway medicine is just getting worse. We’re hearing from families, nurses and healthcare aides that patients are waiting for hours and sometimes days in hallways without adequate attention. The government needs to step in now to support healthcare workers and ensure patients can receive the care they need.”

The NDP shared a letter sent to Health Minister Heather Stefanson from a St. James resident whose elderly mother spent five days in a hallway of the Grace Hospital ER, an experience she describes as “torture.” During this time her mother, who was forced to stare up into “glaring, fluorescent lights”,became dehydrated and delirious but was repeatedly told there were no available beds on the ward. The woman says that “many patients were packed into this hallway,” the majority of whom were “in pain, immobile, and all afforded little care, water, or food.” Her mother was not given a COVID test until her 4th day in the hospital.

The letter states that nurses and Allied Health staff at the Grace were doing their best to provide care but were “exhausted” and “overwhelmed,” and did not have time to maintain communications with family members. The daughter observed that several staff in the ER appeared to be from another hospital and were unfamiliar with operations at the Grace, adding an additional layer of chaos.

“I know no one is more upset by poor quality care than nurses, Allied Health staff and other workers. But the situation this government has created over years of cuts have left front line healthcare workers helpless” said NDP Healthcare critic Uzoma Asagwara. “They’ve asked for better training and increased staffing levels so they can give patients the best quality of care, but the government hasn’t listened. It’s time for the PCs to listen to nurses and healthcare workers and make immediate investments in our healthcare system to save lives in the third wave.”