Manitoba’s three most popular political leaders presented their health-care plans in front of a doctors’ audience.
During the Doctors Manitoba-organized town hall, NDP Leader Wab Kinew made vague promises regarding more personal care homes and additional beds at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre. The event mainly consisted of the leaders reiterating promises and talking points from their election campaigns.
Progressive Conservative Leader Heather Stefanson, for the first time since the formal start of the election campaign on September 5, expressed support for more private services in health care. She stated that patients should not have to go outside of Manitoba for care, including surgery.
“Private care was expanded back under [former NDP premier] Gary Doer to Maples Surgical, Western Surgical. We would like to expand,” she said.
Stefanson also emphasized that the PC party aims to attract more physicians to the province. Earlier this summer, the PCs announced the hiring of a recruitment firm to enlist 150 additional doctors.
NDP Pledges More Beds at HSC
NDP Leader Wab Kinew announced that if he were in power, his government would add 40 beds to the Health Sciences Centre, which is the main trauma hospital in Winnipeg. However, he did not provide any specifics about the type of beds.
He also committed to constructing more personal care homes to replace aging facilities where multiple patients share a single room. However, he did not offer any details about this pledge either.
“I’ll commit that to you 100%,” Kinew told the moderator, Richard Cloutier from CJOB.
Similar to Stefanson, Kinew did not answer questions from reporters after the town hall. Stefanson has not spoken to the media since Friday when her party launched attack ads against the NDP.
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont stated that some significant NDP commitments, such as reopening three emergency departments in Winnipeg, do not address the current challenges in the health-care system. The New Democrats have stated that it would take up to eight years to build the three ERs.
“Look, if I knew this was the 2031 election, I would have promised eight years from now I would have reopened an ER,” he said.
Lamont believes that the health-care system should prioritize finding more alternative places for patients, such as expanding clinics and urgent-care centers, to reduce the need for emergency departments.
He suggested that personal care homes with nurse practitioners on staff would reduce the number of residents visiting emergency departments.
“Instead of spending tons of money on crisis care, it’s about investing in preventive care to reduce the crisis costs and reduce the hurt,” Lamont said.
The election day is on October 3.