There are 1.4 million people in Manitoba. There are 3,100 physicians.
We are working hard every day to keep Manitobans healthy and to help you and your loved ones get the care you need.
We take 10+ years of training to become a fully licensed doctor. Medicine is changing, advancing, helping us to diagnose and treat more diseases than ever before. That’s why we also keep our expertise up-to-date with ongoing education every year. This expertise is what we draw on every day, whether it’s working with you to stay healthy, to prevent diseases or complications, or to diagnose and treat your medical concerns.
We’re doing our best to provide you with the best possible care. We’re using new technologies to improve our practice, offering more convenient options like virtual visits to meet your needs. But Manitoba has the largest physician shortage in Canada, and because of the many inefficiencies in Manitoba’s health care system, it can mean some patients experience unreasonable waits to get an appointment, test or procedure, or face delays once you arrive for care. We try to see as many patients as possible, but we know this can leave some patients feeling rushed. We feel rushed too, and we want to have more time to spend with each patient. That’s why we are pushing for better health care for everyone.
Better Health Care for Everyone
Physicians have never been more worried about our health care system. Record ER wait times. The massive backlog in testing and surgery. Over 150,000 people who can’t find a family doctor. More rural ER closures than ever before. The pandemic has certainly contributed to some of these challenges, but these were all issues before the pandemic ever started.
We are working with nurses and other health care workers, with health system leaders and the provincial government, to improve the health care system.
Find out more about some of our areas of focus below.
Manitoba has one of the biggest physician shortages in Canada:
Over 40% of physicians are considering retiring, leaving Manitoba, or reducing their clinical hours in the next three years.
Half of physicians are experiencing burn out and distress.
This is a complex problem, and it will need short- and long-term solutions. This means:
Expanding medical school to train more doctors.
Adding more space to the licensure program for international medical graduates.
Ensuring Manitoba is competitive with other provinces and an attractive place to work.
Tackling the causes of burnout in partnership with regional health authorities and Shared Health, including excessive paperwork, unreasonable workload, and involving physicians in decision-making.
The pandemic resulted in many shutdowns for surgery and diagnostic testing. When our hospitals were overwhelmed by COVID-19, staff were redeployed to help with the response. This has left us with a pandemic backlog of over 100,000 tests and surgeries.
Doctors Manitoba has advocated for patients stuck in this backlog. This includes creating an online dashboard and pushing for a provincial task force, now in place, to add more capacity to get patients the tests and treatments they need. We’re seeing most hospitals back at their normal pre-pandemic capacity now, but we continue to monitor this closely to ensure even more testing and surgical space is added so doctors can get patients the care they have been waiting for. What’s most important to us is that patients get access to the care they need, close to home.
→ If you are concerned about wait times for test or surgery, talk to your doctor’s office, especially if something has changed with your health concern.
Rural & Northern Health Care
Last year, more ERs were closed in rural and Northern Manitoba than ever before. This has created confusion and concern among Manitobans about how and where to access care in a medical emergency. In many cases, the closures have been caused by a shortage of physicians.
We’ve created a public resource with tips on how to plan ahead given the unpredictable emergency care available as well as links to ER schedules for all regions in Manitoba. We also teamed up with a number of partners to hold a Rural Health Summit, focused on developing solutions to the chronic physician shortages in rural and Northern communities.
→ Visit RuralCare.ca for tips on accessing emergency medical care in rural Manitoba, including ER schedules.
In Winnipeg, ERs have record wait times, ICUs are routinely at or over capacity, and medicine wards run out of beds far too often. In rural hospitals, many services have been closed, such as ERs, inpatient care, surgeries and obstetrics. We are concerned about your ability to get the medical care you need, when you need it.
Through Doctors Manitoba, we are raising these concerns with provincial decision-makers, pushing for solutions to end the bottlenecks and closures.
→ If you need emergency care, always call 911 or go to the nearest open ER. For emergencies, patients are seen based on how serious their medical concern and doctors are generally able to see the most acute problems very quickly. For other concerns, talk to your doctor, and consider making a complaint with the appropriate health agency.
Prevention and Healthy Living
It’s been a tough couple of years, hasn’t it? It’s no surprise that 39% of Manitobans report their own focus on living healthy declined over the last two years. Plus there’s a lot of outdated or inaccurate health information circulating right now too.
Doctors want to support all Manitobans in being as healthy as possible. That’s why we created an online resource with tips to live healthy and prevent disease. It’s also why we created a vaccine resource with trustworthy information from doctors about the COVID-19 vaccines.
We also want to be able to spend more time with patients to focus on prevention and healthy living, and we are suggesting just that to the province, which controls your public medical insurance coverage.
Half of physicians are experiencing burnout, and that’s a concern for doctors and for patients.
This is a complex problem that predates the pandemic. That’s why we launched a major initiative to strengthen physician health and wellness by addressing the sources of distress and burnout. With funding from Scotiabank and MD Financial Management and with the support of the Canadian Medical Association, the project aims to assess the environments and systems in which physicians work, and to identify achievable changes that can be implemented at both organizational and system levels. We are working towards improved partnerships with physicians, health authorities and health organizations with increased engagement with physicians and health organizations.
→ Find out more about the project, the model on which it is based and meet the physician champions here.