December 1, 2021
Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB— Documents obtained by the Manitoba NDP show the PCs spent a total of $22.2 million in agency nurses in rural and Northern Manitoba over a seven-month period.
“The nursing shortage in rural and Nothern communities has reached a breaking point and families are suffering,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “We need more nurses, but the PC Leader won’t hire them. Overpaying for private nurses is bad for patients and fiscally irresponsible. We need the staffing capacity to care for Manitobans in good times and bad.”
Government documents show that from January to August 2021, the PCs spent $2.4 million on agency nurses in the Southern Health region and $7.5 million on agency nurses in the Northern Health region. From January to September 2021, the PCs spent $10.5 million on agency nurses in the Prairie Mountain Health region. From January 2021 to March 2021, the PCs spent $1.8 million on agency nurses in the Interlake-Eastern Health region. In total, Manitoba has spent at least $22 million on for-profit nurses so far this year.
"This is money that could be spent on MRIs and surgeries, but instead we’re throwing money at for-profit healthcare,” said NDP Healthcare critic Uzoma Asagwara. “Seniors are being sent away from their communities, hospitals are closing beds and nursing are speaking out about dangerous vacancy rates. We need more nurses, but the PC Leader won’t hire them."