Province introduces legislation to overhaul health care system
The provincial government introduced legislation Wednesday to overhaul parts of Manitoba’s health care system.
The government said amendments to the Regional Health Authorities Act are intended to help simplify the system, make it more accountable, provide clarification to regional health authorities delivering services and reduce the number of organizations in the system.
The new act is called Health System Governance and Accountability Act. The shift means there will be seven health authorities. Five in the regions, along with Cancer Care Manitoba and Shared Health.
Shared Health will plan parts of the health system applicable on a provincial scale, which include:
- A clinical and prevention services plan. This will look at how many services are needed and where. The number people needing knee surgeries and ultrasounds were provided as examples. It also includes emergency medical services including ambulances, patient transfers and Lifeflight air ambulance.
- A human resources plan.
- A capital plan. This includes buildings and equipment.
- Administrative services
Shared Health will also be responsible for Health Sciences Centre and Children’s Hospital. This transfer was announced last year and is still underway.
The government also said the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba would cease to exist and become part of Shared Health.
Shared Health would also oversee Selkirk Mental Health Centre and Cadham Lab.
About 400 different voices will be working on the clinical services plan.
The changes are expected to take place over the next four years.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen says the new legislation will create a more integrated approach, such as services when it comes to addiction and mental health.
The government couldn't say how many jobs could eventually be affected or how many could be found to be redundant.
Wab Kinew, leader of the Opposition fears the changes won't help patients and pointed to addictions.
"They should be expanding services. They should be opening a safe consumption site. They should just not be concerned with these bureaucratic, management type of changes,” said Kinew.
Manitoba Liberal leader Dougald Lamont warned about overhauls in Alberta and Nova Scotia.
"It made a lot of nurses and doctors mad and didn't make health care better," he said.
Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union president Michelle Gawronsky questions the changes.
"I don't understand how forcing these organizations together is going to improve patient care in any way shape or form,” she said.