The Manitoba NDP unveiled its “Alternative Throne Speech” on Thursday. The plan, which comes out before the Progressive Conservatives deliver the actual Throne Speech on Nov. 15, lays out the ways the Opposition would go about addressing problems they believe matter most to Manitoba residents.
This year, the NDP are focused on addressing problems within the health care system.
Leader of the Manitoba NDP Wab Kinew told reporters one of the way they would reduce wait times is by increasing the availability of clinics.
“What we’re proposing to do is to expand hours at the ACCESS Clinic at the Grace Hospital from 6:00 a.m. until midnight each day,” explained Kinew.
“We would work with nurse practitioners (NPs) to ensure that there are NPs onsite, to deliver the kind of quality health care that you, your children and your family need when you need it.”
Kinew says this simple change could reduce wait times in emergency departments as families would have more flexibility when it comes to going to a clinic before school starts, or after you get off work in the evening.
The NDP projects that expanding hours at the Grace Hospital ACCESS Clinic will cost roughly $1 million, and if elected they would expand the program across Winnipeg, establish clinics in Brandon, and then in rural and northern Manitoba communities.
Kinew had harsh criticism for Premier Heather Stefanson for her role in the Progressive Conservative (PC) government’s part in creating the current health care crisis.
“There are 2,400 nursing positions empty right now. That’s 2,400 nurses we don’t have working at the bedside for you,” Kinew said.
“So even if the PCs follow through for once on a press conference that they call on health care, they still will not have repaired the damage that they themselves have caused to our health care system.”
Kinew also told reporters that if elected his government would open a safe consumption site in the province, saying safe consumption sites should be included in a harm reduction strategy.
“Anyone who has expertise in addictions medicine, or anyone who’s just spent a bit of time thinking about the addictions crisis we have here in Manitoba knows that a supervised consumption site should be part of the harm reduction approach that we take,” Kinew explained.
“A supervised consumption site can help save lives of those people living in the community who are living with addictions, but it can also prevent illness, and help our health care system.”