WINNIPEG (TREATY 1, - HOMELAND OF THE RED RIVER METIS) - Following on the most recent in a tragic series of home care stories in the media, the Manitoba Health Coalition (MHC) has joined with several health care unions with members in home care delivery to call on the Stefanson PC government to stop hiding the disaster unfolding in Manitoba’s home care system and provide families with accurate and up-to-date program information.
“Too often, we are only learning about the tragic outcomes in Manitoba home care because clients and/or their families are desperate enough to go to the media,” said Thomas Linner, Provincial Director of the MHC. “It shouldn't have to be this way. Families shouldn’t be left in the dark as to what is happening with the services they count on. We need to ensure that the people who need these services are receiving them, regardless of their ability to pay - and that there is accountability for when those needs are not met.”
Home care in Manitoba was once the gold standard for all of Canada precisely because it was a comprehensive, universal, public service. Cuts to public home care under the Pallister and now Stefanson governments, in tandem with the increased priority placed on for-profit delivery, has left many Manitobans with expensive private care, unreliable care, or no care at all.
The explosion of privately delivered home care is particularly concerning in Manitoba, given that, as stated on Manitoba Health’s Home Care FAQ: “Manitoba Health does not license private Home Care companies or agencies.” Added to this, as MHC has previously noted, the government has appointed a representative with ties to a prominent private home care agency to the Shared Health Board of Directors.
MHC is calling on the provincial government to move quickly to license all private health care staffing companies and agencies in Manitoba, including those providing home care. This should include an accessible, online public listing of all private health care staffing and home care companies or agencies operating in Manitoba, broken down by regional health authority (RHA), including:
- Disclosure of the ownership senior executives of each company or agency
- The number of health care and home care workers for each company or agency, broken down by position
As part of this public listing, MHC is calling on the provincial government to provide Manitoba families with detailed program information in regards to home care, including:
- The number of home care appointments administered by private home care companies or agencies operating in Manitoba, by RHA
- The public home care staffing shortage in each Regional Health Authority, broken down by position
- The number of missed appointments in the public system for each RHA, broken down by type of appointment
- The number of missed appointments by private companies or agencies for each RHA, broken down by type of appointment
“The provincial government has not stepped up to ensure the home care program is properly staffed,”said Debbie Boissoneault, President of CUPE 204. “Home care workers feel that they, and the people they provide care for, are being neglected by this government.”
“Nurses are witnessing first-hand the decline in home care supports for Manitobans due to the staffing shortage and other issues affecting this vital service, and our hearts go out to the families experiencing these difficulties,” said MNU President Darlene Jackson. “If our provincial government does indeed want Manitobans to be able to receive the care they need at home, then home care must be prioritized immediately.”
“Our members serve clients in mostly rural areas, and we are worried that too many are suffering in silence,” said Kyle Ross, President of MGEU. “We need a real, open and transparent process to find out what is going on and how we can fix it.”
“Allied health professionals working in home care are deeply concerned for their clients well-being as caseloads increase without any additional resources,” said Jason Linklater, president of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals.” Publicly-delivered home care is in desperate need of immediate investments.”
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