Earlier today, I commented on the government's improper use of mandatory overtime. It was got so bad that I recently heard of a nurse who had been told to do mandatory overtime 16 shifts in a row! I also heard of another nurse who left Manitoba to go to British Columbia because she was unable to have a life because she had been told to do so much mandatory overtime. Mandatory overtime is bad for nurses and it is bad for patient care to have nurses who are overtires and overworked. I asked the Health Minister when he was going to improve the management of health care so that mandatory overtime would not be necessary. As you will see from his response, the Health Minister talked of the "historic (and I would add disruptive) changes" he has introduced, which have been in part the cause of the problem of high levels of mandatory overtime use. He did not mention any concrete steps to reduce mandatory overtime. My questions and the Minister's responses are below.
Nurses Mandatory Overtime - Request to Eliminate
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, mandatory overtime is being used as a vile, anti-nurse, anti-family technique. It is a denial of respect for people who are putting their hearts and souls into their jobs. It treats people like pawns, not as people who have human feelings, human needs and human rights.
Mandatory overtime arises because of terrible management practices being instituted by RHAs and a government which is too remote from the people. The government has brought in sweeping changes.
I ask: When will the government actually improve its management of health care so that mandatory overtime is no longer needed.
Hon. Cameron Friesen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): Madam Speaker, we're very proud of the investments that we have brought in the transformation of the health-care system. We see right now how those changes are beginning to be seen as really working: the consolidation of mental health services at Victoria hospital; the way the urgent-care centres are seeing more patients in less time; the place that indigenous health has got within this system and the improvements we've seen there.We recognize that along the way, a stabilizing workforce is very, very important, and we're focused on doing everything we can to make sure that we can stabilize this system after some of the most historic changes in the last 30 years.
You can see this exchange on video at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVdoHjSow0g&feature=youtu.be