PCs Let Nurse Vacancy Rates Soar in MB Surgery Departments, Ask Manitobans to Travel to the U.S. for Surgery Instead

January 12, 2023 

Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB— Instead of investing in Manitoba’s public health care system so patients can get surgery close to home, documents obtained by the Manitoba NDP show nurse vacancy rates in some Winnipeg hospitals have doubled in the last year.  

“You shouldn’t need to use your passport to access health care,” said Uzoma Asagwara NDP Critic for health care. “But that’s the unfortunate reality of health care in Manitoba right now. Premier Stefanson was Health Minister when we should have been preparing for the influx of surgery patients but she didn’t get it done. Now the nurse vacancy rate in surgery departments is so high that Manitobans are being asked to travel and pay out of pocket for health care while surgeries are cancelled in Winnipeg every day.”  

Documents from Shared Health show nurse vacancy rates of up to 20% in surgery in Winnipeg hospitals from January 2022 – September 2022. The vacancy rate doubled at the Grace hospital reaching 18.4% and increased by 50% at St Boniface hospital. Meanwhile the PCs plan to send Manitobans out-of-province and out-of-country for surgery has been criticized by health care advocates and experts like the President of the Manitoba Orthopedic Society who says its “not a patient-driven model.” 

“We're not going to fix health care in Manitoba by sending our resources to the United States,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “We’re spending money on American health care instead of investing in good nursing jobs and reducing wait times here at home.  An NDP government would build nursing capacity and strengthen public health care so we can take care of Manitobans right here at home.”  

A copy of the referenced documents can be viewed here.