PCs Let Health Care Vacancies Rise During National Nursing Week

May 12, 2021

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB—Today the Manitoba NDP revealed documents that show the PC government failed to prepare for the third wave by refusing to hire more nurses and healthcare staff. The NDP released documents that show alarming nurse vacancies at the Grace Hospital ICU and across Prairie Mountain Health.

“Manitobans want their government to do everything it can to protect the health of their family in the third wave,” said Kinew. “But after years of PC healthcare cuts, our healthcare system does not have the staffing capacity to give our seniors and loved ones the care they deserve. The PCs had time before the third wave to staff up our hospitals but once again they refused to invest in patient care. We know Brandon and Winnipeg are COVID hotspots right now – the government needs to hire more healthcare staff today to ensure families get the care they need in the third wave.”

In the Legislature today, during National Nursing Week, the Manitoba NDP tabled a leaked document sent anonymously from the Grace Hospital ICU that shows nurse staffing shortages for May and June. Some days show as many as 15 unfilled shifts, and include both daytime, night-time and extender shifts. ICU nurses will be expected to come in on their days off or take overtime to fill the gaps. The document contains a note that reads: “Staffing shortage is beyond dangerous.”

The Manitoba NDP also tabled documents from Prairie Mountain Health obtained through a Freedom of Information request that show vacancy rates over 21% across the region from March 2019 to March of this year. Vacancy rates for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses have increased over the last two years, proving the province refused to staff up during the pandemic. There are 61 vacant positions at Brandon Health Centre and 34 vacant health positions at Dauphin Health centre. From the first to third wave of the pandemic, vacancies in Homecare staff increased from 20% to 26% and vacancies in healthcare aides increased from 15% - 17%.

“It’s clear that the PCs are relying on exhausted nurses and healthcare staff to patch over the cracks in their broken healthcare system,” said Uzoma Asagwara, NDP Healthcare critic. “Instead of offering empty words of praise during National Nursing week, this government needs to listen to the nurses who are asking for more staff and sign a new contract so they can spend more time at the bedside taking care of our loved ones.”

The aforementioned documents can be viewed here and here.