Many of our members feel the government has gone too far, too fast, and the concern is that the public is being put at risk in an effort to put cost savings ahead of patient care.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (22 June 2017) — The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) has announced its timeline for the closure of 3 emergency rooms in Winnipeg and the conversion of the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre. Members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) will remember that the WRHA has also previously announced the contracting out of some home care services to private companies.
Premier breaks election promise to protect public services, closes hospital ERs
“Premier Pallister ran on a commitment to protect public services and the people who provide them,” said Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President. “He could have focused on fixing our emergency rooms by staffing them properly and improving how they are managed. But instead of fixing our ERs, he’s ultimately thrown in the towel and decided to close them.”
On June 14, the WRHA also announced new special needs behavioural beds will open at Deer Lodge Centre and that lab and diagnostic services will be redeployed. Ambulance protocols will also be updated to ensure transport destinations are clear. After several weeks off the air during the by-election in Point Douglas, a WRHA ad promoting the changes is once again airing.
“The Premier is leaving Winnipeggers that live in the southern and northern part of our city vulnerable in the event of a medical emergency. That’s why we’ve seen such a public outcry to these changes,” Gawronsky said. “Many of our members feel the government has gone too far, too fast, and the concern is that the public is being put at risk in an effort to put cost savings ahead of patient care.”
Manitoba government pushes changes without consultation
Many of the changes are expected to happen as early as October 2017, and the MGEU/NUPGE is disappointed that decisions are being made with no consultation or input from the union itself. Gawronsky said the best way to find out what’s working is by talking to the people who deliver the service every day.
“This plan has been tried before. In the 1990s, the last PC government closed a community hospital ER, cancelled personal care home projects, and reduced hospital staffing levels. It gave us hallway medicine and drove health care staff out of the province,” Gawronsky said.” Why would anyone even think an even stronger dose of that bad medicine will work this time?”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE