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Health Care Check Up - Public Meeting in Boissevain

April 14, I was in Boissevain as part of our public consultations on the status of Health Care in Manitoba.  There is a major concern over Health Care in Manitoba at the moment, in part because the Pallister PCs have been making major changes and these are causing concern, uncertainty and low morale within the health care system.

In each of our public meetings as part of our effort to see where health care is at, we asked several questions.  1) What is working well?   This question is important because the starting place for improving our health care system is understanding what is working well.  Items that fall in this category need to be supported and indeed built upon and used as models of good care to improve the system. 2) What is not working?   This is an important question because it identifies where there are problems which need to be understood and addressed to improve the system. 3) Where do we need to invest? This is a critical question because it identifies areas which will need additional funding in order to correct the deficiency.  4) What is needed to improve or restore trust in Health Care in Manitoba.   We are asking this question because we have found too many people are losing or have lost trust in Manitoba's health care system.  In Boissevain, we added a fifth question 5) What is your vision for health care in South-western Manitoba 10, 20 or 30 years from now?

We had an good turn out for our meeting in Boissevain.  Thank you to Mayor David Stead and to Council members Judy Swanson, Doug Robertson and Rhonda Coupland for coming and participating. A brief mention of some of the comments made at the meeting is provided below:  It is not exhaustive.  A more complete report will come when we have finished our public meetings;


What is working well?
- People are able to get quick access to hip surgery when needed..
- Dr. Nell and a nurse practitioner provide excellent health care for people in Boissevain and area.
- Ambulance response time is excellent - averaging 6 minutes
- Specialist referrals are able to happen quickly as Dr. Nell knows the system well and is very efficient
- The shared call coverage by physicians in Boissevain and Deloraine is working well
- Eight municipalities are working together to put forward a regional health plan
- X-ray service locally is excellent so that if an x-ray is needed for a specialist in Winnipeg it can be done locally and sent quickly to Winnipeg

What is not working?
- Uncertainty due to the changes being proposed by the current provincial government is a problem. 
- The local community has raised funds for an updated piece of laboratory equipment but the Regional Health Authority has said "NO" even though there will be no increase in operating costs. 
- Government and RHA making decisions without local consultations
- A patient being told to get an x-ray in Winnipeg when it can be done locally
- No telehealth in Boissevain
- Pharmacy services for personal care homes has been centralized in Winnipeg cutting the local pharmacist out of being part of the health care team for those living in the local personal care home.
- Loss of local autonomy in health decisions as RHAs have increased in size and taken over all decision making

Where do we need to invest and improve our health care system? 
- there needs to be telehealth in Boissevain
- Assisted living spaces are needed in Boissevain
- Cell service is needed throughout the Boissevain region, not just in Boissevain and immediate area as it is now. 
- Broadband internet service is needed throughout the Boissevain region
- An improved EMS garage is needed. 

What needs to be done to improve or to restore trust in our health care system?  
Right now people in Boissevain see the health care system as working very well for them and they have a lot of trust in it. But stability and certainty are needed moving forward.   A confirmation that their ambulance station will not close would be helpful in keeping the trust that there is now. 
- The provincial government needs to stop pitting one community against another and to work with municipal leaders across the region. 
- An improved relationship with the RHA and a willingness of the RHA to listen to and consult with people locally would help 
- Support for local pharmacists as part of the local health care team would help. 
- Bringing telehealth to Boissevain would be positive 
- Bringing cell service and broadband internet to the whole region would help. 

What should health care in south-western Manitoba look like in ten, twenty and thirty years.
- A regional hospital is needed.   The site mentioned was at the junction of routes 3 and 10.  But the decision to have a regional hospital needs to be made first before a decision on the site is made.
- More health care should be done locally - with advances in technology
- Municipalities and RHAs should be working better together
- Excellent stroke care should be present at the regional hospital when it is built

If you have further comments, you can make a comment below or email me at jon.gerrard@leg.gov.mb.ca or fill out our ongoing health care survey at this link - Health Care Survey  

Summaries of earlier public health meetings are to be found by clicking on the name of the community:

Brandon, Grandview, The Pas, Flin Flon, Thompson, Winnipeg

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