Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB – The Manitoba NDP revealed today the Pallister Conservative government has reduced the number of available ICU beds across Winnipeg’s health care system by more than 20%.
Records obtained through freedom of information requests show there were a total of 73 general ICU beds operating in January 2017. In July 2019 there were 63, which included the seven beds at Seven Oaks General Hospital that were closed in September 2019. Yesterday, WRHA officials confirmed there are 55 beds in operation across the system—meaning 18 beds have been lost in just two years.
“In the middle of a virus epidemic, Winnipeg hospitals are down 18 ICU beds. This is a direct consequence of Brian Pallister’s decision to close three emergency rooms and fire hundreds of nurses,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.
Yesterday, WRHA officials admitted they are struggling to staff beds because of a shortage of nurses and other health care workers like respiratory therapists. Some of the closed beds are a result of Pallister’s move to close ICU units at hospitals like Seven Oaks—a move which was justified at the time because there were “very few patients”. Capacity issues have led to cancelled surgeries and have even resulted in transferring patients from Winnipeg hospitals to the Brandon site.
“Pallister’s cuts have created such dysfunction in our health care system that they actually have to transfer patients out of the largest, highest quality sites in our province because of lack of beds. That doesn’t make sense for patient care or their families,” Kinew said.