Skip to main content

Conservatives copy Manitoba Liberals mental health bill - two years later

Yesterday (December 4), the Pallister Conservatives introduced a bill to make changes so that health professionals can more easily contact family members or members of a persons circle of care in order to provide help and prevent suicides and other potential harms to individuals.  This bill copies legislation introduced by the Manitoba Liberals two years ago.  It has meant a two year delay in getting this important approach implemented.  Judy Klassen introduced the Liberal bill on November 30, 2016 just over two years ago. Judy Klassen's introduction of the bill is below.  It is worth noting that the Conservatives voted against this bill at second reading.   Yesterday, after second thought, they are introducing a bill which is very similar to what Judy Klassen introduced two years ago.   I am pleased that the Conservatives have learned from the Liberals but sorry that it took two years, during which time an unknown number of people have suffered because this legislation was not in place. 

Nov. 30, 2016: Bill 209–The Mental Health Amendment and Personal Health Information Amendment Act

Ms. Judy Klassen (Kewatinook): I move, seconded by the member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard), that Bill 209, The Mental Health Amendment and Personal Health Information Amendment Act, be now read a first time.
Motion presented.
Ms. Klassen: When a person is hospitalized for an injury, a heart attack or a stroke, health-care professionals contact that person's circle of care, whether they be family or friends. Yet there is uncertainty to make that contact when it is a mental illness, suicide attempt or drug overdose due to the language used in our Personal Health Information Act and our Mental Health Act.
      Madam Speaker, Bill 209 would see that language clarified so that circles of care may be notified in the case of mental or brain health issues when compelling health or safety circumstances exist.
Madam Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? [Agreed]


Background to the Manitoba Liberal Party Bill 209:



2008:  Manitoba Liberals became aware of an individual with depression who was suicidal who presented to an Emergency Room because he was depressed and suicidal.  He was sent home with a bus pass.  Within days he committed suicide.   This brought to the Manitoba Liberals attention the need for changes to the way individuals who are suicidal need to be treated when they present to an Emergency Room.  This led to the development of Bill 230 The Mental Health Bill of Rights. 


The Liberal bill included the UN convention's recommendations that individuals with mental illnesses should be given equal treatment under the law and the right to have family members or a circle of friends supportive of their decision making. The convention also includes the right to health, right to work, right to live in the community, right to an adequate standard of living, all of which are addressed in the Liberal bill.  Sadly, the NDP government of the day rejected this bill.



October 24, 2015:  Reid Bricker, who was suicidal presented for care and was sent home without the family being notified.   Bonnie and George Bricker push for changes to legislation to ensure health professionals are able to notify family in such circumstances before a person is discharged so that such suicides can be prevented.




2016: Following the provincial election of 2011, in which brain and mental health was a significant issue, the Manitoba Liberal Caucus entered into extensive consultations with regard to brain and mental health.   These consultations led to the release, in the fall of 2016, of the Manitoba Liberal Party report "Optimal Brain Health for All Manitobans" which is available at this link - https://www.jongerrardmla.ca/wcm-docs/docs/reports/brainhealthreport.pdf 
The report included the Recommendation 37 which read "The Working Group on Optimal Brain Health make recommendations for the optimum approach available in Manitoba for creating effective networks of support to assist those with brain health issues.   These recommendations need to include changes to the Mental Health Act to make it easier for health professionals to share information with family members and possibly with other members of the person's circle of support."  It was this recommendation which led to Bill 209.






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Comparison between Manitoba and South Dakota shows dramatic impact of Physical Distancing

Manitoba implemented physical distancing measures in mid-March.  South Dakota has still not made physical distancing mandatory.   The result is a dramatic difference in the incidence of covid-19 viral infections between the two jurisdictions.   This graph shows the number of people with Covid-19 infections from March 27 to April 14.  Manitoba ( red line )  started leveling off about April 4 and has seen only a small increase in Covid-19 infections since then.   South Dakota ( blue line )   has seen a dramatic increase in Covid-19 infections since April 4.  Those who are skeptical of the impact of physical distancing in Manitoba should look at this graph! Data are from the Johns Hopkins daily tabulations

Standing up for Seniors

Yesterday in the Legislature I  asked the Minister of Health questions about the care of seniors in personal care homes in Manitoba.   I specfically called for the Minister to increase the training and staffing requirements for personal care homes in Manitoba to bring them up to date.   My questions, the Minister's comments and the Speaker's interjection are below:  Personal-Care-Home  Improvements - Need for Upgrades to Standards and Training Hon. Jon  Gerrard   (River Heights): Madam Speaker, we're very concerned this government is not adapting to the reality of caring for seniors who are living longer. Seniors living in our personal-care homes today have much more challenging health-care conditions than those who were in similar homes even five years ago, and yet the staffing formula, or minimal personnel requirement, is over 20 years old. Too few care aides and nurses are adequately trained to look after residents with dementia and multiple chronic health conditi

I cried today when I heard the report on the Maples Care Home disaster

Today the Pallister  government released the report on the tragedy which occurred at the Maples personal care home in October  to December 2020.   There were far too many people infected with COVID-19 (73 staff and 157 residents) and far too many deaths (56).  It did not have to be this way.  The central finding of the report was: "The review found that while pandemic plans had  been prepared and were in place, the site was not prepared for the significant reduction in available staff once they had been  exposed to COVID-19  and were required to self-isolate.  In addition, the urgency of requests for additional on-site staffing supports were not  fully understood until the situation became critical.   While additional staff were brought in, many were not skilled in providing long-term care services and  lacked training in infection prevention and control and specialized housekeeping skills."    Five  months before, Manitoba Liberals had warned the Premier three times that pre