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Questions about health care in Manitoba

Health-Care Reform - Service Delivery Concerns
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, last week, a man with meth addiction and psychosis waited 24 hours in an emergency room before getting help.
      Last week exposed a precarious situation in food services, with 20 per cent of positions for health inspectors not filled.
      Last week, hundreds of nurses told us about their negative experiences with the government cuts, consolidation, chaos and crushing workload.
      Today, while eight new graduate midwives are unemployed, 50 per cent of those who want a midwife can't access one, and all the minister can do is call 1-800-Mr. Peachey.
      When is the Minister of Health going to actually address the serious problems his government has created?
Hon. Cameron Friesen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): I was pleased to meet with the College of Midwives in my office less than a month ago. We had a excellent conversation about how to expand the model of midwifery in Manitoba.
      They acknowledged that the previous government was ineffective, actually trying three and four times and still not managing to graduate midwives in our jurisdiction. It was the member of Portage la–from Portage la Prairie, who was the minister at the time, who found a way to help those midwives at the time graduate.
      We continue to look to the future and know that this is a very important–[interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order. Order.
Mr. Friesen: We continue to believe that this is a very important part of our health-care system going forward.
      If the members wanted the answer, I would assume they'd be listening.
Madam Speaker: I just want to indicate that heckling, on both sides of the House, serves us no purpose in moving forward with the debate that is before us. So I would ask for everybody's co‑operation, please.
      The honourable member for River Heights, on a supplementary question.
Methamphetamine Addiction - Treatment Plan Request
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, it's pretty clear that the Conservative mascot–the poster person for the impact of the poor management on health care–was the meth addict with the psychosis who couldn't get any help for 24 hours at the Health Sciences Centre except for the offer of a bus pass.
      It took 10 hours to see a doctor and 14 more to decide how to help him, thanks to the chaotic state of the government's approach to meth psychosis.
      Is the government going to call 1‑800‑Dr. Peachey, or will the minister, after two years of a meth crisis, finally bring forward a coherent and comprehensive approach to meth addiction and meth psychosis?
Hon. Cameron Friesen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): Last week, there was a community meeting just down the block from this Legislature where there was a broad number of community members and leaders who all agree that there are no easy answers when it comes to methamphetamines.
* (14:30)
      We've heard that over and over in other jurisdictions. We've heard it in Canada across the provinces. We've heard it from our counterparts in the Midwest in the United States. And yet members of this Legislature somehow pretend that there are easy answers to what is facing us. There aren't.
      I can tell that member that I am pleased to see with the initial preliminary numbers for the month of April that it looks like the flu season and the ER times are beginning to decline now. That's a hopeful sign. Nevertheless, there's lots of work to do in our  communities when it comes to dealing with methamphetamines.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a final supplementary.
HIV/AIDS Medication - Coverage Request
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, last Friday, Dr. Ken Kasper, on receiving the Doctors Manitoba's health or safety promotion award, together with Dr. Laurie Ireland, said he has been trying for 13 years to get full coverage of drugs for individuals with HIV/AIDS. I, too, have been calling for years for this treatment-is-prevention approach to help those with HIV/AIDS and to  decrease transmission of this disease. British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan all have full coverage for HIV/AIDS drugs for this reason.
      Is the government going to call 1‑800‑Dr. Peachey, or will it use common-sense prevention and fully cover HIV/AIDS drugs starting now?
Hon. Cameron Friesen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): That member's cynicism aside, it was the member for Steinbach (Mr. Goertzen) and I who were in Ottawa in 2016 when the federal government announced that they were going to cut their health transfers to all the Canadian provinces and territories, a cut that will cost Manitoba, in the space of 10 years, $1 billion.
      If that member truly cared about any of the issues that he just represented in this House today, why did he not phone 1-800-Ottawa and demand a better, more sustainable, long-term arrangement for the betterment of health care right across this country?


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