Skip to main content

Bill 10 The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act


On Wednesday March 24th, I spoke at the Manitoba Legislature on Bill 10 The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act, a bill which establishes the organization Shared Health.  My  comments (from Hansard) are below. 

Bill 10–The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act

(Health System Governance and Accountability)

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I want to talk about Bill 10 and the ramifications of this bill. First of all, this bill, with only minor modifications since, was first introduced December 2nd, 2019 – a year and a half ago, roughly, now. It was debated at second reading last year, but then the government decided that it was going to take June, July and August off, and so the bill sat there.

      This is an important bill, and it has taken five years to get to this point from where we are now. One has to ask why this government took so long.

      Now, I'm going to address several things: first of all, CancerCare Manitoba and concerns that the CancerCare network–especially the network as it now organized–will suffer. CancerCare has been unquestionably the best specialist network that we have.

It has got outreach centres around the province. It is organized well so that there are centralized epidemi­ology and research and forward-planning, as well as the clinical care organized so that while the protocols can be set up centrally, a lot of the care can be dis­tributed all over the province and carried out all over the province under very high standards.

      I am concerned whether CancerCare will be able to adequately continue in the future. I hope so. I hope, in fact, that the organization of CancerCare can, in fact, be a model for some other specialist networks around the province to be able to deliver care.

      Second I want to talk about the relevance of the principle of subsidiarity, and that is that actions, management, care be looked after at the level where it is most appropriate to look after it. And we see that there are certain functions which need to be done at the provincial level: procurement; special­ist networks, looking after them; some emergency services; following up on medical errors; having an oversight with regard to research provincially and provin­cial prevention services. That is the framework for the delivery of prevention services in an effective way.

      The government has set up Shared Health to do this. This is, in fact, an additional layer of bureau­cracy. They continue to have the regional health authorities, as well as the local community hospitals and care homes.

      What we believe it would be smarter, instead of another layer of bureaucracy, that the Manitoba Health directly deliver those services which are critical provincially and that, rather than have the requirement, as we have now, for the regional health authorities, that there could be much more local control with local hospitals and local care homes under the framework provided provincially to ensure high-quality care. So we see that the government has actually increased the level of bureaucracy in Health, rather than decreasing it rather than streamlining it, and we're sorry that that's what the government has chosen to do. Even as they talk one way about reducing bureaucracy, they continue to increase it.

      I want to talk a little bit about what happened under the COVID pandemic. There was clearly poor preparation for the second wave, that the organizational structure was not as good as it could have been. The attention to preparation for the second wave was nowhere near what it should've been. I see good clinical research in hospitals, in intensive-care units, going on in Manitoba, but I don't see the preventative research, which could have helped a lot, being followed up and performed with a central view as to ensuring that the options for improving prevention were thoroughly studied, investigated and implemented here in Manitoba.

      We had huge problems in personal-care homes. The standards for personal-care homes were not what they should have been. That is partly the fault of the NDP government over many years and partly the fault of the Conservative government which didn't pay attention to personal-care homes and ensuring that the standards and approaches to having people work in personal-care homes were there in a way that would have been much more effective than has happened.

      We think that the government has a long way to go in terms of improving the situation in personal-care homes, and that is something that we'll be watching very closely, including, as my colleague, the MLA for Tyndall Park, has proposed and has been a long-time advocate for many years for a seniors advocate in the province.  We had a forum just last night, in fact, talking about the steps that need to be taken to really get this implemented well, including a virtual Zoom meeting which involved BC's seniors advocate to help us better understand the situation there.

      There is clearly a need to make major strides in mental and brain health, including addictions. The situation at the present time clearly leaves a lot to be desired. There are long waits for detox because there isn't adequate service in this area. There are big gaps in helping those with addictions.

      The situation with eating disorders is that the wait times are very, very long at the moment. And, clearly, the government has not been very quickly responsive in this area. One of the things that you really need to do is to have a government which is going to be able to respond as a situation changes, and eating disorders–not just here, but elsewhere–have increased, and yet the government has not provided an approach that would address this. And so instead of it being well addressed and people being well served, you have long, long and longer wait times–I think about two years at the moment.

      So there is a lot to do in mental and brain health and addictions. It is, of course, a challenge for the new minister, and I wish her well, but I was disappointed that the overall Minister of Health, the MLA for Tuxedo, was not better able to provide details of, who within Shared Health was responsible for mental health and addictions and brain health, and more about the organizational structure and how this was working so it would actually solve some of the critical issues which exist today.

      When I spoke a year ago on this bill at second reading, as it was then, I mentioned that there had been a young lady who had died as a result of suicide - Taylor Pryor. We're still waiting for a report and some major changes to health care as a result of the unfortunate things that happened in her care, and I hope that will be forthcoming and that the minister can release such a report in the near future to let us know what is happening.

      With those comments, I look forward to this moving on. We will not support it because we don't believe this is the right approach.


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