2016 Election – What the political parties said


 

MACH’s strategic priorities focus on improving health and healthcare in Manitoba by: building on existing community-based networks and knowledge; alleviating pressure on hospital emergency departments; connecting people to appropriate care; and improving health and healthcare services in rural Manitoba.

MACH sent an election survey to each of the six parties running in the 2016 Manitoba Provincial Election,  asking three questions based on our strategic priorities:

How do you see the Community Health Centre (CHC) model of “providing the right care, by the right providers, at the right time” impacting ER wait times?

How would you support Community Health Centres to address health equity and access in rural communities throughout Manitoba?

How can CHCs’ expertise influence policy and decision making in current and emerging healthcare issues?

Responses below were received from the Green Party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Progressive Conservative Party. The Manitoba Party declined to participate, and no response was received from the Communist Party.

 

Green Party

Liberal Party

The Green Party of Manitoba has preventive healthcare as one of its main policies. Since poverty is one of the leading causes of illness, we will introduce a Guaranteed Annual Income for all Manitobans. Mental health issues and dental care for children would be covered by Manitoba Health. Programs to reduce our diabetes epidemic will be one of our main priorities. This includes both bringing in policies to decrease obesity such as removing junk food from all schools and bringing in a province wide “junk food tax” as well as policies to encourage fitness such as mandating additional time be devoted to physical education at all grade levels.

Active transportation will be strongly encouraged and promoted in communities, schools and workplaces.

The Green Party of Manitoba has pledged to increase the overall funding for preventative healthcare from .04% to 2% of the overall healthcare budget. We are in full support of increasing the number of non-physician health care professionals to not only reduce the overall cost of healthcare but also to reduce overall wait times. Increasing the number of Community Health Care Centres would be part of our strategy.

The Green Party of Manitoba’s positions on the three recommendations that are listed in the Manitoba Association of Community Health “Better Together” document are:

Partner with the Manitoba Association of Community Health and other relevant stakeholders to establish a primary care council, at which key contributors assist with system transformation and responsiveness and Work together to develop robust and mutual accountability agreements and to streamline funding from different levels of government, similar to the successful Red Tape initiative through the Province of Manitoba.
The Green Party of Manitoba would determine the hierarchy structure after being elected. So at this point we neither support nor disagree with this recommendation.

Support robust funding for existing CHCs to extend hours, create or increase walk-in capacity, and establish new CHC satellite locations in high needs areas to divert non-emergent clients from the emergency room.
The Green Party of Manitoba fully supports this recommendation except for the term “robust funding.” At this point we are committed to increasing overall health care funding by no more than the annual increase in the nominal GDP. We would expect that the portion allocated to Community Health Centres would increase by more than this amount as our preventative measures and switch to non-physician health care professional’s increase.

With the assistance of MACH, engage communities outside Winnipeg to identify priority opportunities to invest in new CHCs as a means to fulfill and go beyond the ‘physician for everyone’ promise in rural Manitoba.
The Green Party of Manitoba fully supports this recommendation as it is stated.

How do you see the Community Health Centre (CHC) model of “providing the right care, by the right providers, at the right time” impacting ER wait times?
Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari has met with your organization and was impressed with some of the innovative approaches you are currently executing and is keen to work with you on models that bring community health to the people. Anything we can do to get people out of emergency is a good thing and that’s why early on the Manitoba Liberal Party pledged to bringing psychologists services under medicare. That model in our opinion would work very well at the community health level.

How would you support Community Health Centres to address health equity and access in rural communities throughout Manitoba?
Rural Manitoba would be well served by the multi-disciplinary approach of community health centres and we are very interested to learn more about how this could be accomplished. We really need to learn more, but are very interested in having that conversation.

How can CHCs’ expertise influence policy and decision making in current and emerging healthcare issues?
Quite frankly we must look to new models for healthcare. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different result is not on. We will are interested in measured results and if community health centres can be part of the solution we are willing to give it a try. The model may not work in all circumstances, but we would be foolish not to consider it especially in communities similar to those who have clearly benefited.

New Democratic Party

How do you see the CHC model of “providing the right care, by the right providers, at the right time” impacting ER wait times?
The community health centre model is a key component for delivering primary care to marginalized and patients with complex needs who might otherwise not be able to access the care they need, when they need it. By integrating a team of primary care providers and by involving community members in decision-making through outreach programs, community health centres can offer wrap-around services for patients. This means that these centres can manage chronic diseases better than other models, catch debilitating diseases earlier and offer preventive care, All of this can significantly reduce emergency department visits, which reduces wait times for patients and paramedics. Community care centres can do this at a lower cost than other primary care models. The result is better health outcomes for patients who report better satisfaction with their interactions with the health-care system. Tory Lead Brian Pallister has never offered a single solution to emergency department wait times and has never expressed any support for community health centres. The only time emergency departments in Winnipeg closed was when he was last in government. Their Conservative government closed all Winnipeg’s community hospital emergency departments at night (in 1995) and they permanently closed the emergency department at the Misericordia Hospital (in 1996).

How would you support CHCs’ to address health equity and access in rural communities throughout Manitoba?
Manitobans deserve access to safe, high-quality health care close to home, no matter where they live in the province. The community health centre is a good model for providing primary care in rural communities that don’t have the resources a large centre has. Community health care centres will be able to integrate support systems so patients know where to get help. Community health care centres offer wrap-around care by working with patients and communities to meet their needs, whether it’s the common cold, substance abuse, mental health, disease prevention or managing chronic illnesses. We’re committed to working with rural communities to help develop health-care approaches that result in the creation of community health centres. Rural communities are best places to know their specific needs. With their guidance, and the assistance of the established community health care centres, we can improve patient outcomes across Manitoba and create equity in our provincial health care system. When Brian Pallister was last in government the Tories made extreme cuts to health care. They fired 1,000 nurses; cut 15 medical school student spaces; lost 116 doctors; froze health construction, renovation and expansion; cut $37 million from rural hospital and personal care home budgets; tried to cut home care services that families rely on; and experimented with home care privatization and user fees.

How can CHCs’ expertise influence policy and decision making in current emerging healthcare issues?
CHCs has extensive experience and expertise on the front lines, particularly in dealing with patients with complex needs. Many of these patients don’t walk in the door between regular business hours of 9:00 – 5:00pm. These are often the patients who put a lot of pressure on emergency departments, so it’s critical that their health-care needs are met in alternative ways, such as through community health care centres. As we work with communities to expand the network of community health care centres, we will want MACH at the table through the decision and planning stages. Their expertise will be critical to getting it right.

Progressive Conservative Party

How do you see the CHC model of “providing the right care, by the right providers, at the right time” impacting ER wait times?
Manitobans today wait longer than anywhere in Canada to receive emergency treatment. We believe that is wrong for Manitobans to take to highway medicine to receive quicker treatment outside our province. This is a form of two-tier health care that is unacceptable. Manitobans should not be waiting for 7 hours to receive emergency treatment. Under 17 years of the NDP, we have the highest ambulance fees in Canada, more doctors leaving than anywhere else, and the longest ER wait and length of stays in the country. We have a different approach. A new Progressive Conservative government will strike a wait time task force with an aggressive 6 month mandate to recommend specific actions to shorten wait times in emergency rooms, and for priority procedures where under the NDP, we are below the Canadian average. Any opportunity to decrease ER wait times needs to be fully examined. A closer look at how CHC’s could decrease ER visits certainly has merit. We believe open dialogue between a new PC Government and the Manitoba Association of Community Health would be valuable in reducing wait times to the benefit of all Manitobans.

How would you support CHC to address health equity and access in rural communities throughout Manitoba?
The establishment of rural community health centres is becoming more common practice in many jurisdictions. As Manitoba now has over 20 rural ER’s closed and a critical shortage of rural doctors, new innovative approaches to providing rural health care is imperative in order to provide health equity and access. Manitobans today are continuing to face doctor shortages under the NDP’s failing record of worst doctor retention in the country. We believe that is wrong for Manitobans to continue to pay more and get less, and not have access to a regular doctor thanks to more NDP broken promises. The NDP and Liberals believe in doctor retention too – but they want to recruit for our neighbours in Saskatchewan and Ontario by raising taxes and making Manitoba less attractive to quality health care professionals. Last election, the Selinger NDP promised every Manitoban would have a family doctor by 2015. Since 1999, we have seen over 2,300 doctors flee our province under the NDP’s watch. We have a different approach. If you truly care, you care about results. A new Progressive Conservative government will establish an improved doctor recruitment and retention program for Winnipeg and rural communities, with a goal to have the most improved retention rates in our first term. Along with our pledge to reduce ambulance fees and establish a wait times task force, this is part of our better plan for a better Manitoba. We look forward to working in partnership with the Manitoba Association of Community Health to assist in achieving these results.

How can CHCs’ expertise influence policy and decision making in current emerging healthcare issues?
Working in meaningful collaboration with all of the healthcare industry stakeholders is vital in addressing our healthcare challenges. Having all the primary care stakeholder voices involved would allow for more robust thinking and effective system transformation and responsiveness. More than ever, we need a new government based on Manitoba values. A government that reflects those values in everything it does. Values like trust, compassion, common sense, inclusion, and teamwork. Our new Progressive Conservative team has been working hard to bring about that change and get our province back on track. We have been reaching out. We have been listening. We have been gathering ideas and demonstrating to all Manitobans we are ready to partner with them in building a stronger Manitoba. We invite every Manitoban to join together in this exciting rebuilding project to get us back on track. We welcome your comments, we welcome your suggestions, we welcome your participation and we welcome your partnership.