Manitoba’s NDP has announced a plan to increase the number of hours Winnipeg’s seven ACCESS Centres are open.
ACCESS Centres offer health and social services that vary from community to community.
“Health care is an important part of families’ busy lives,” says Manitoba’s NDP Leader Wab Kinew.
Kinew says he will open ACCESS Fort Garry on Sundays as a pilot project and eventually move towards opening all ACCESS Centres on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Fort Garry location is already open on Saturdays but other centres are only open Monday to Friday.
“We believe that being able to schedule things like check-ups, or vaccinations for your kids, on Sundays will make life a bit less stressful for some families. It will also make it easier to access mental-health counselling,” says Kinew.
The pilot project alone comes in at an annual cost of $330,000.
Kinew says one doctor, two nurses, a nurse practitioner, two primary case assistants and a mental-health counselor will be present on Saturdays and Sundays.
Kinew wants to fund the plan by closing the Transformation Management Office, a PC initiative. He was unable to tell reporters during his announcement how many people would lose their jobs.
A PC party spokesperson attacked the NDP and its leader’s plan in an emailed statement.
“Instead of simplifying and improving health care, Wab Kinew wants to close the Transformation Management Office (TMO) and take patient care back to the dark days of the last NDP government, where wait times were the worst in the country and there was no plan to fix it,” the spokesperson wrote. “The PC Party is improving patient care and outcomes by modernizing the health system. The TMO is integral to that process, working to untangle what experts have said was an overly complex system under the NDP that was difficult for patients to access.”
“Mr. Kinew also doesn’t appear to know that his ‘new approach’ for ACCESS Centres are already in place at the Grace Hospital, which is open on Sundays. The development of Manitoba’s first-ever provincial clinical and preventive services plan is studying ways to ensure Manitobans have appropriate care, no matter where they live in the province,” the statement continues.
WATCH: Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew on 680 CJOB