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A strong prevention policy is essential to good health care - the Manitoba Liberal approach

September 5, Dougald Lamont announced our Liberal appraoch to preventing sickness and optimizing health for Manitobans.  This plan will involve ensuring that all Manitobans have access, within twenty minutes travel time, to primary care services including support for mental as well as physical well-being.  Dougald Lamont's comments at the announcement are below:

"Today we’re going to talk about improving our health care system through prevention. 
We all understand the importance of prevention.  There are plenty of familiar, common sense sayings, 
“A stitch in time saves nine.” “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

We need to “nip a problem in the bud.” When it comes to prevention in health care, that common sense is nowhere to be found.  People have often remarked that Manitoba has a health care system that is costly, yet doesn’t have great results.

The reason for that is that many Manitobans are poorer, and sicker than in other juridictions.  We have parts of Manitoba where the rate of diabetes is 20 times the national average.

The other is that governments do not put money into primary care - where we have the potential to catch and diagnose problems - and nip problems in the bud.

We can catch and intervene on people with struggling with mental health. We can catch and intervene early signs of diabetes, and many other diseases.

Studies show that improved access to teams of primary care professionals, particularly with mental health and diabetes can reduce direct health care and societal costs by 17% in one year.

In Manitoba, that has not been happening. The PCs have frozen health care funding for the last three years straight.  In their budgets, the PCs promise big and then don’t deliver.

In 2016/17 Manitoba Health annual report, they spent 65% less than they said they would on primary health care.

In 2017/18, they spent 70% than they said they would on primary health care.

While this was happening, the Pallister Government created an entirely new, fourth level of health care bureaucracy, Shared Services.

If the Pallister government ran a fire department like our health system, they would be refusing to install sprinkler systems while spending all their money putting out five-alarm fires.

The same was true under the NDP.

A Manitoba Liberal Government will set the goal of ensuring that every Manitoban will have access to primary care within 20 minutes travel time.

Primary health includes quick care clinics, mobile clinics, access centres, doctors and nurse practitioners.

We can’t do this overnight, especially given the current state of Manitoba’s health system.

In a first term, we will make sure that 80% of Manitobans can access primary care health services within 20 minutes’ travel time, and set a goal of ensuring 100% of Manitobans within a second term.

We want to invest in primary health care to ensure that our community clinics are supported and that Manitobans know they can get the care they need close to home without going to an ER.

One of the challenges here is inadequate health care services on First Nations.

Manitoba cannot continue to ignore the extreme disparity of health services to our Indigenous communities. Community care is a priority for every single community in Manitoba, and we are all Manitobans. 

They will also work with First Nations and the Federal Government to ensure that the same standards apply on reserve.

We will work in partnership, and with Indigenous leadership and communities to make this happen.

The provincial government has the opportunity to act as a true partner with Indigenous health issues and save countless downstream dollars that affect the bottom line of our provincial departments including emergency health care, families, education, justice, and Indigenous relations.

Better local care is also essential to Manitobans, too many of whom have to travel for hours to get health care. Manitoba’s health care travel costs for emergency services alone cost $100-million.

“By providing better community health care, and improving access to primary care, we can keep Manitobans healthier, reduce emergency and crisis treatment, and spend our money on care instead of travel,” said Lamont. “Health care is not a cost to be cut, it is an essential investment in a healthy society that makes us all better off.” 
Manitoba Liberals are offering a New way forward for all Manitobans on health."


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