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Health and Dental care for those with severe airborne latex allergies

On October 2 I asked in Health Estimates measures that the government is taking to address the fact that an individual in Brandon is having to go out of province for health care because she can't be sure the health care clinics and hospitals in the Prairie Mountain Health region or elsewhere in Manitoba are latex safe.   Part of the issue here is that when a person is sensitive to latex in the air (an airborne as opposed to a contact allergy) that it is important to have a facility which does not use latex - in particular latex gloves or balloons in the building - and this includes gloves used in the cleaning and food services departments and not just in the direct delivery of care.   I asked about this issue in Estimates.  My questions and the Minister's responses are - from Hansard - below:

Mr. Gerrard: I have been talking with an individual who lives in Brandon who is having trouble getting access to health care and to dental care in Brandon. She has a severe latex allergy and there is apparently a difficulty there, whether it's a doctor's office or a dental office or the hospital, in having latex-safe care, and it seems to me this is something that the minister could look at.
Mr. Friesen: I thank the member for the question. I happen to have at the table today the CEO for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority who is informing me, of course. And I know something about this issue as well. And this issue has from time to time been the subject of public interest. And I've seen more media reports, not just in Manitoba, but external to our jurisdiction, that talk about the same sensitivities and allergies when it comes to latex.
The CEO for WRHA informs me that there are procedures and protocols in place in the WRHA when someone has a latex allergy so that that individual can be accommodated in clinic, in hospital, for a surgical procedure, for a pre- and post-procedure. [The problem appears to be that the procedures and protocols are for dealing with a contact allergy to latex and not for dealing with an airborne allergy to latex which requires  more stringent measures] Through our   commitment to centralized planning and co‑ordination of the system, while we don't have the other CEOs here at the table today, it would be my strong expectation that these kind of commitments become harmonized throughout the system.
It would certainly be our desire for–and this is–it forms an excellent opportunity to talk just about that commitment to consistent delivery of care. If the member has particular concerns around this area, he'd be happy to also write to me or direct us to other advancements that he has seen in other jurisdictions that we should also be aware of here in Manitoba.
Mr. Gerrard: Yes, it has been a particular issue because she has been referred to various places and too often when she goes there she finds that there are latex gloves being used, whether it's in the cleaning or in other areas, and so it then becomes a problem.
She needed a particular surgical procedure and went to Brandon and was told that they couldn't guarantee they could do it in a way that was latex-safe, and she ended up having to go out of province in order to have successful treatment.
     Mr. Friesen: I know it's pertaining to a specific casework file–we're all at the table here a bit confused at the notion that the individual had to seek surgical procedure out of province as a result. And I'd be willing to look into the issue more if the member wanted to later on share more information. We know, as we've shared today, that there are protocols and procedures in place in our system for people who have an allergic reaction to the use of latex in hospital activities, and so we are attempting to accommodate those individuals, but that means that the practice needs to be consistent, which is exactly the reason we're introducing the concept of shared health. Bill 10 has been introduced in this Legislature. The creation of a shared service model for health human resource planning, for procurement for ICT planning, for other capital planning and all of those needs that are so important in our system.


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