The Pallister government has announced its plans for Shared Health and part of its role will be managing the Health Sciences Centre. This means that most Winnipeg hospitals will be managed by the WRHA and one, the Health Sciences Centre, will be managed by Shared Health. Having two organizations managing hospitals in Winnipeg is adding extra bureaucracy and duplication. I asked the Minister of Health why he is doing this? My question and the Minister's response from June 21 are below:
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): My question to the Minister of Health: He has recently brought in the transformation report last week. One of the significant questions is why the minister has chosen to include the Health Sciences Centre in with Shared Health. The result of doing this is that he will have, under his ministry, two organizations managing hospitals in Winnipeg.
This hardly seems efficient to have two organizations managing hospitals in Winnipeg, and so I ask the minister, you know, why has he included the Health Sciences Centre in with Shared Health rather than leaving it within the WRHA?
Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): Thank the member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard) for the question.
Shared Health is designed to deal with services that are provincial in nature, so, as an example, EMS is moving under Shared Health as a result of its provincial lens and provincial service delivery. There has been a recommendation by Dr. Rush in the VIRGO report to also move services under addictions, so AFM or an entity like that also under Shared Health because there is a provincial nature to the delivery of those services.
Likewise, the Health Sciences Centre is the provincial trauma centre for Manitoba. You know, essentially, anybody who is undergoing a significant traumatic effect is going to the Health Sciences Centre, regardless of where you are in Manitoba. STARS now flies directly to the Health Sciences Centre with the opening of the helipad 13 or 14 months ago. And so it made sense to recognize Health Sciences for what it is, a provincial hospital operating provincially, and it will be housed in Shared Health for that reason.
Mr. Gerrard: There are a variety of provincial services which are not necessarily located, for example, in the Health Sciences Centre. St. Boniface is a centre for cardiac issues and has an international reputation in terms of cardiac care and cardiac surgery. Misericordia is a centre for ophthalmology, eye care, and, again, has a reputation in western Canada and internationally for the kind of care that it gives. Concordia has, up until recently–we're not sure what the future is–has been a major centre for orthopedics and hips and knees.
So, clearly, there are other hospitals and health centres which have got, you know, elements which are provincial in nature. Managing a hospital would not appear to be all that different from one to another. And while clearly one wants to be able to make sure that there is some standardization of the delivery province-wide of specialist services, which I believe is what the minister is talking about, it would not appear necessary to put the Health Sciences Centre under Shared Health for that reason alone. And so I would just make the case that there is an alternate point of view. And the minister has put his point of view, and I give him an alternate point of view.