August 31, 2021
Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB—The NDP are demanding the PCs put their internal dysfunction aside and immediately address the record-high wait times in Winnipeg hospitals to protect Manitobans during the fourth wave of COVID-19. According to the WRHA monthly wait times report, July 2021 was the worst month in the last seven years.
“As families prepare to send their kids back to school and health officials warn us about the fourth wave, Manitobans want healthcare to be the government’s number one priority,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “But unfortunately, instead of listening to healthcare workers and investing in our hospitals, the PCs are more concerned with their own political rivalries - and it shows. The PCs need to stop focusing on themselves and start focusing on Manitobans by fixing their healthcare crisis.”
The WRHA’s monthly reporting shows wait times in July 2021 were higher than any month on record. The highest wait times in the 90th percentile were at HSC where some Manitobans waited more than 9.5 hours for care. At her campaign launch, PC Leadership candidate Heather Stefanson, who was Health Minister in July 2021, referred to the situation as a “crisis,” but then immediately backtracked saying “I won’t say that it’s a crisis.” Healthcare workers across the province have been sounding the alarm for months, calling on the government to address wait times and put a plan in place to reduce the backlog of surgeries. Public health officials have stated that our acute care system could be overwhelmed during the fourth wave.
“What’s going on in our hospitals right now is absolutely a crisis but the PCs seem to have just accepted it as the status quo,” said NDP Healthcare critic Uzoma Asagwara. “Under Heather Stefanson’s watch, wait times skyrocketed, our ERs became overrun, the surgery backlog ballooned to 100,000 Manitobans, and nurses and healthcare staff left our hospitals at alarming rates. It’s time for the PCs to answer for the crisis they created with their cuts and finally show some leadership so we can protect Manitobans during the fourth wave.”