Manitoba is spending over $482,000 on respiratory training at the University of Manitoba in an effort to “strengthen the health-care system,” Health Minister Audrey Gordon and Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes announced Wednesday.
“Our government’s comprehensive action plan continues to effectively address labour market shortages in the health-care system that were magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Reyes.
The plan is to add four additional seats, beginning this month, for a total of 20 seats in the University of Manitoba’s three-year bachelor of respiratory therapy.
The money will help offset the operating costs of the four new seats and necessary equipment and renovations to both support expansion this fall and lay the groundwork for further expansion, the ministers noted.
“Investing in training additional respiratory therapists who play an important role on a health-care team represents our ongoing effort to build our province’s health-care human resource capacity,” said Gordon.
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Respiratory therapists are health-care professionals who provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to patients requiring basic and complex cardiopulmonary services.
They work as part of inter-professional teams in areas that include intensive care units, patient transport teams, emergency rooms and rehabilitation settings.
“Increasing the number of respiratory therapy students in the College of Rehabilitation Sciences by four is vital for our province’s health-care teams,” said Dr. Peter Nickerson, vice-provost (health sciences) and dean of the University of Manitoba’s Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.
“It has become abundantly clear over the past two-and-a-half years, the need for more human resources and for supporting the expansion of RT education and training at UM.”
The Respiratory Therapy program expansion builds on commitments made in Budget 2022 to strengthen the health-care system.