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Third Reading of Bill 10: The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act.

 On Wednesday May 19th, I spoke at third reading of Bill 10  which deals with the major organizational changes which include putting in place Shared Health.


Bill 10–The Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act
(Health System Governance and Accountability)


Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I want to put a few words on the record about Bill 10, which deals with putting in place Shared Health and making many, many other changes to the management, the gover­nance and the administration of health care in Manitoba.

      The first thing that I will say is this: the changes that the government has brought in have now been thoroughly tested in the pandemic, and they have come up short.

      We have found that there has been very poor human resource management. We see this with the many nursing positions which are unfilled. We see this with a government which has scrambled at many times during the last year and a half with health-care resources.

      We see this in the way that people were moved from one position to another at time of crises; that people, for example, were taken out of home care and people who were receiving home care were left adrift with no other choice sometimes but to go into a personal-care home because the home care that they had been receiving was all of a sudden gone.

      We can see the shortfall in the shortage of surge capacity, and that has been seen clearly in a number of areas but very clearly today, when we have had to move people from our intensive-care units to Thunder Bay for care because we have run out of space. One of the essential components of a health-care system which is working well is that that surge capacity be in place.

      There is unclear lines of responsibility between Shared Health and the regional health authorities, and this clearly needs to be addressed.

      There has been a poor capacity to involve Manitoba experts in infectious diseases and emer­gency medicine in the management of the COVID pandemic and in the–their involvement with regard to research and–which is critically important during the pandemic. I tabled FIPPAs which showed that the govern­ment has no research advisory committee for COVID. The government doesn't even know what research–clinical research–is going on in the province during the pandemic.

      It's a poorly managed situation and shows the deficits in this bill and in the changes the government has made.

      There is a poor capacity to involve ethicists and others in triage. Instead of us having a triage protocol in place, we are now in the middle of a crisis, having to shift people from our ICUs out of province because we have run out of capacity, and we still don't have any triage protocol. And the government is saying, well, we can always add more capacity; but it turned out today they couldn't. And so, critical decisions and a triage protocol are clearly essential.

      There has been poor performance in addressing addictions and mental health, in spite of the fact that the government said this was what these changes were all about. We've had a dramatic increase in opioid deaths, we've had circumstances where there's clearly not enough detox beds and capacity to treat addictions and mental-health issues. There has been a doubling of the wait times–perhaps more–for eating disorders, one of the most serious from the mortality rate of mental health issues.

      The government was not ready for the second wave. We saw that with the tragedies, the disasters in personal-care homes and in a variety of other matters. The government has not been ready for the third wave, and we see this in the fact that we have the highest per capita rate of infections in all of North America. There are thus so many shortfalls as a result of this transformation that they speak loudly on the deficits in the government's area of planning.

      Government talks about accountability but really hasn't put in place accountability mechanisms. And if you really want accountability, you have to have funding based on services delivered rather than the approach of global funding that the government is using at the moment.

      So, with those few comments, Mr. Deputy Speaker, we will not be voting for this. We will be voting against it. It has not proved to be a smart move or a smart transformation, as the government has demonstrated so clearly by its performance during this pandemic.

      Thank you.



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