Patient Care at Risk with Short-Sighted Cuts
Mar 31, 2017
Most of us would agree that quality health care ranks among our top priorities when it comes to public services. Whether it’s a quick and professional response in a health emergency, effective prevention and diagnosis of disease, or caring and dignified supports as we age, all are dependent upon the right people at the right time doing the right thing.
Whether it’s a lab technologist identifying cancer cells, a health care aide adjusting a pillow to prevent pressure sores, or a paramedic administering epinephrine to an allergic child ― the care, attention and professionalism of trained individuals makes all the difference.
I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the importance of the people who deliver quality patient care. When my husband suffered a stroke, it was the people who were reliably there with us, day in and day out, from the first terrifying moments to the long days of rehab to years of home care, who kept us going.
The provincial government has indicated that health care costs need to be contained. There is no doubt that we need to be smart about how we’re doing things within a hugely complex system. But like with most things, balance and careful planning is key. That’s why I feel the Pallister government’s rush to cut $125 million out of the health care system over the next year, regardless of the impact on patients, seems like a risky move.
Recently, the government directed all RHAs to find millions in annual budgetary savings. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority alone was told to cut $83 million this year .
They’ve already announced the elimination of a successful home care program aimed at keeping chronically ill clients out of expensive hospital beds. They’ve also cancelled important infrastructure projects like the new personal care home in Lac Du Bonnet and the new cancer care centre in Winnipeg that would have helped stimulate our economy and improve patient care. This is on top of closing the Quick Care Clinic in St. Boniface in January. It was the only bilingual clinic and the only clinic in that part of Winnipeg.
All of these short-sighted cuts will end up doing more harm than good.
And this is likely just the beginning. The Premier recently went on record to state that he will not rule out closing emergency rooms.
The MGEU did a poll of Manitobans after the provincial election in 2016. In it, 74% said they opposed cutting public services to reduce the deficit. And 44% believe that protecting health care, roads, justice, and other public services is government’s most important budget priority, compared to 11% who identified balancing the budget even if it means cutting services and laying off people.
election, the Premier indicated that he wanted to get the deficit under control
over a reasonable, thoughtful, and planned timeframe of eight years. But all of
a sudden he’s moving away from that careful, measured approach and making
short-sighted cuts that put public services, including health care in peril.
The Premier ran on a pledge to protect front line workers and their jobs. But these health care cuts that we’re seeing aren’t what Manitobans signed up for.
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