WRHA announcement raises more doubt about the future of health care
MGEU members rally last week against health care cuts. Today, the WRHA announced more cuts in order to meet the provincial government’s mandate to cut $83 million from its budget.
Jul 11, 2017
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has announced another round of sweeping changes to meet the provincial government’s mandate to cut $83 million from its budget. Today the WRHA announced it will close four QuickCare clinics, raise service fees, reduce staff, contract out services, and transfer community cancer clinics to CancerCare Manitoba.
The WRHA says the QuickCare clinics on Vermillion Road, Portage Avenue, Jefferson Avenue and Dakota Street will close by the end of January. Hours will instead be extended at Access Centres for medical care and social services.
Meanwhile, CancerCare Manitoba will take over the responsibility for community cancer clinics – a change that surprised many MGEU members at Victoria General Hospital.
“Thousands of MGEU professionals deliver our health care every day. They care deeply about the service they provide and I think it would have made much more sense to get their input before making these risky changes,” says MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “Instead, workers are taken completely by surprise every time we see an announcement like the one today. As you can imagine, this causes a great deal of stress about their future and the patients they care for.”
Gawronsky notes that implementing so many changes in health care, all at once, is risky and confusing to both patients and staff.
“We knew that ordering regional health authorities to cut millions from their budgets would hurt patient care, and now we’re seeing the damage that it’s causing. Reducing staff, closing QuickCare clinics and raising fees isn’t what the government promised when they campaigned to protect public services in the election. Changes, like the ones announced today, will hurt families and they certainly won’t improve patient care.”
Additional changes announced by the WRHA today include:
- Taking adult outpatient physiotherapy and occupational therapy clinics out of hospital to private practice providers by mid-October. This will force patients to pay out-of-pocket for private services or insurance.
- Centralizing Food Services (delivered by the Regional Distribution Facility) and privatizing retail food services at Grace Hospital.
- Transferring primary care services from 1001 Corydon Clinic to Access Fort Garry.
- Redirecting many services provided by the Mature Women’s Centre at Victoria Hospital by October 1, 2017.
The WRHA will be hiking user fees for the sick and elderly who use the following programs:
- The Adult Day Program daily fee will double from $8.85 per day to $17.70.
- Transportation fees for Geriatric Day Hospital will jump from $10 per round trip to $15.
- Rates for the PRIME program (which promotes independent living in the community for seniors) will increase by 20%.