“How does forcing these organizations together improve patient care?” questions Gawronsky. “It really feels like it’s all about the bottom-line, instead of focusing on the health and wellness of Manitobans.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (29 March 2019) — The President of Manitoba’s largest union wants the Health Minister to provide clarification on some recent legislative changes that could have a significant impact on members of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU/NUPGE) and the services they provide.
Changes put health care system on uncertain ground
Earlier in March, the Manitoba government introduced Bill 10, which will change the name of The Regional Health Authorities Act to The Health System Governance and Accountability Act.
The bill makes way for the government’s continued changes to Manitoba’s health care system, as it establishes Shared Health as a provincial health authority and sets out the organization’s responsibilities, duties, and authority.
The province also says that some existing organizations — including Selkirk Mental Health Centre (SMHC), the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM), and Cadham Lab — will be transferred to Shared Health, which could take anywhere from 18–24 months.
Manitoba government focusing on bottom-line, not health care needs
It is unclear what these changes will mean for the services currently provided by the employees in these organizations, which is why Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President, has written to the Minister seeking clarification.
“How does forcing these organizations together improve patient care?” questions Gawronsky. “It really feels like it’s all about the bottom-line, instead of focusing on the health and wellness of Manitobans.”
The government’s announcement states that the changes will begin in April, and that, “no employment changes are expected through the transition process.”
However, the legislation also states that the AFM will be eliminated and the provincial health authority will assume its responsibilities in providing addictions services.
“Members shouldn’t be stuck in limbo for years, and I don’t feel that Manitobans needing mental health and addictions treatment should have to wonder how they will continue to receive the services they rely on,” said Gawronsky. “The MGEU/NUPGE is committed to getting to the bottom of what all these changes will mean.”
Members impacted by The Health System Governance and Accountability Act are reminded that their collective agreement will remain in force until a new one is ratified with either their current employer, or with Shared Health.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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