Latest election promise from Manitoba Liberals: Primary care within 20 minutes

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont promise to improve access to primary-care health services. Steve Lambert/The Canadian Press

The provincial Liberals say they want all Manitobans to have access to primary-care health services within no more than 20 minutes of travel time.

It’s the latest promise from leader Dougald Lamont who has made improved community care a key plank in his campaign for Tuesday’s election.

Lamont says his goal in the first term of a Liberal government would be to ensure that 80 per cent of Manitobans would be near primary care.

That would be followed up in a second term to provide such service to 100 per cent of residents.

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He says improved primary care could be achieved through quick-care clinics, mobile clinics, access centres, doctors and nurse practitioners.

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Lamont says the province cannot continue to ignore the extreme disparity of health services to Indigenous communities.

The Progressive Conservative government under Premier Brian Pallister has underspent the primary-care budget by $6.7 million over two years, while the costs of treating complications from untreated disease have soared, Lamont said in a release Thursday.

“If the Pallister government ran a fire department like our health system, they would be refusing to install sprinkler systems while spending all their money putting out five-alarm fires,” he said.

“Better primary care will help catch problems earlier, and save money by investing in keeping people healthy, instead of waiting until they are really sick to treat them.”

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