Permanent Fund to Support Urgent Priorities, Needs: Squires, Klein
WINNIPEG — Building on historic investments into health care, a re-elected PC government will invest $120 million into a permanent recruitment fund to expand Manitoba’s health-care workforce and meet priority needs for Manitobans, Rochelle Squires, PC candidate for Riel, announced today.
“The Health Human Resources Action Plan (HHRAP) was meant to bring more health-care professionals into the system, and I’m proud to announce that it was a resounding success. More than 2,000 health-care professionals are now on board in Manitoba. That’s what a stable, experienced government delivers,” Squires said. “This new fund will build on the success of our recruitment and retention efforts by providing stable, permanent funding to continue strengthening our workforce.”
Squires noted that the new fund will be targeted to meet system staffing needs today, as well as filling future positions at new and improved facilities opening across the province over the next few years, all of which have been fully budgeted and strategically planned for by the PCs while in office. Of the total funding, $40 million will be targeted for recruitment and retention in rural communities.
“We are happy to see the progress made for the recruitment and retention of health-care professionals as long-term and ongoing priorities,” said Marco Pena, head of the Filipino Nurses Association. “Retaining and attracting nurses and other health-care workers in this province is key to keeping our health-care system running.”
Kevin Klein, PC candidate for Kirkfield Park, said that those health-care projects—including upgrades to the Grace Hospital ICU, St. Boniface Emergency Room, and Concordia Operating Room, as well as an expansion to the Health Sciences Centre Bed Tower and Surgical Centre of Excellence, and redeveloping Portage Place—are all at risk if the NDP form government.
The recruitment funding will also help ensure staff coverage at health-care facilities across Manitoba, including:
- the Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach, where a new $30-million surgical centre is underway;
- the Boundary Trails Health Centre in Winkler, which is currently undergoing a $100-million expansion;
- Brandon Regional Hospital, where work started earlier this year for $136-million upgrades along with the Western Manitoba Cancer Centre;
- the Dauphin Regional Health Centre, where our PC Team has made $23-million ER upgrades;
- Lakeshore General Hospital in Ashern, which is undergoing a $10.8-million expansion;
- the new $127-million Neepawa Hospital, which will be nearly four times the size of the existing Neepawa Health Centre;
- the new $455-million Portage Regional Health Centre in Portage la Prairie, which will be significantly larger than the existing Portage District General Hospital;
- the Selkirk Regional Health Centre, which is currently undergoing a $45.7-million expansion and renovation;
- the St. Anthony’s General Hospital in The Pas, where the community will also benefit from $39-million in funding that our PC Team invested in The Pas Primary Health Clinic nearby; and
- the Swan Valley Health Centre in Swan River, where our PC Team has recently invested to bring in a new CT scanner.
All of these projects are at risk under an NDP government.
“Wab Kinew has promised to build almost a dozen new medical facilities without committing to the existing projects underway, without strategic or clinical backing, and with absolutely no indication on how he plans to staff them,” Klein said. “Not only is the PC health capital plan fully costed, it’s already under way.
“We know that health care wasn’t broken overnight and that it can’t be fixed overnight, no matter what other political parties say. With the new Health Care Recruitment Fund, PCs have a plan to add staffing capacity to the health-care system, whereas the NDP just have cynical, vote-buying promises—with no plan on how to staff all these new facilities, in the middle of a worldwide staffing crisis.”
Klein added that the more than $3-billion health capital plan currently underway had the backing of clinical experts and health leadership. Kinew has made almost $3 billion in election promises already without committing to continue the investments, Klein said.
“More than $1.5 billion in spending is on the books for HSC alone,” Klein said. “Wab simply can’t do it without cutting projects or raising your taxes.”
The provincial election will be held on October 3, 2023.