“For a government that promised to both protect front-line services and find efficiencies in health care, cutting this program makes no sense at all.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (20 March 2017) — As of March 31, Hospital Home Care Teams (HHCT) in Manitoba will no longer be caring for clients with chronic health issues in their own home ― leaving these clients at greater risk of relying on costly acute health care facilities.
“For a government that promised to both protect frontline services and find efficiencies in health care, cutting this program makes no sense at all,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU/NUPGE). “It doesn’t get more frontline than the daily preventative care these clients receive, and the program’s key focus is to keep Manitobans out of high cost, overextended emergency rooms.”
Program cuts likely to mean more trips to the hospital
Since its inception in 2013, the program has served approximately 550 clients, and many family members are concerned about what the cuts will mean for their loved one’s ongoing well-being.
“Families are telling us that it is the continuity of care the team provides that leads to improved health and fewer visits to the hospital,” Gawronsky said.
In January, the MGEU/NUPGE home care workers, who are part of the Hospital Home Care Team, were invited to a meeting with Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) leadership and told that funding for the upcoming year past March 31 was not guaranteed.
“Of course, our members came to us very concerned about their clients and their jobs,” Gawronsky said. “I don’t think anyone could understand why this of all programs would be cut.”
Manitoba government's own report recommended expanding Hospital Home Care Teams
A recently released provincial report by Reg Toews, considered to be the most current and definitive review of the province’s home care program, recommended that specialized programs like HHCTs not only continue to be funded, but also expanded into rural regional health authorities.
“This government commissioned Toews’s report to help identify the best way forward,” Gawronsky said. “Their own report recommended expanding hospital home care teams, not eliminating them. Something doesn’t add up here.”
With 2 weeks left before the program is officially shut down, Gawronsky urged the government to listen to Manitobans.
“It’s not too late to save this ambitious program. Let’s commit ourselves to maintaining and building win-win health care solutions that are caring, effective and fiscally responsible," Gawronsky said.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE