Jon Gerrard – MLA River Heights and Manitoba Health Critic was in Brandon this evening hosting one of a series of public meetings to listen to Manitoban’s regarding their opinions of the health care system. The meeting was attended by Westman residents, including Len Isleifson – MLA Brandon East.
Gerrard presented a brief summary of the 2016-2017 health budget; which was set at $ 5,997 million, and went underspent by $115 million. Expressing that a problem with this under spending was that funding fell short in critical areas such as mental health.
The meeting then focused on open questions, concerns and discussion stemming from the following three questions: What is working well? What is not working well? What needs investment to improve?
There was broad concerns brought forward at the meeting. A resident listed off the current and planned closures of 18 rural ambulance stations specifying the increased times that it would take a person in need of emergent care to be transported to centers that are open with professionals present.
Another resident brought up that in urgent situations that it was not clear on which emergency room would be open between three, in opposite directions, when seeking care.
Gerrard highlighted the viewpoint that in the concept of shared services within Regional Health Authorities that when funding for acute care and preventative are within the same sphere; that acute will always win.
Residents highlighted the need for front-line staff needs, education, information and more face to face time with their health care providers.
Gerrard offered that with a complex system like health care in Manitoba it is important to look at each of the pieces and the importance of being active in the areas of keeping people well. He concluded the meeting with giving opportunity and making note of each attendee’s perspective on where primary focus should be directed in our provincial health care system.