The following is a statement from Doctors Manitoba President, Dr. Kristjan Thompson. 

From a financial perspective the Manitoba budget has appropriately prioritized investing in health care, though the results will be measured not by dollars spent but by shortening wait times, clearing the pandemic backlog, and recruiting and retaining more nurses, doctors and other health care workers to ensure patients get the care they need.

The significant investment in health care is an important step toward rebuilding a medical system that has been under tremendous pressure, not only over the last two years due to the pandemic but also from the staffing shortages and primary focus on efficiency in the years before COVID-19. While this can’t be undone with money alone, matching the government’s financial investment with a meaningful partnership with physicians will help to ensure our medical system recovers and is better prepared for the next health crisis. 

Manitobans should be encouraged by the government’s significant investment to address the massive backlog of surgical and diagnostic procedures, though physicians and their patients are still waiting for a firm commitment on when that backlog will be cleared. 

The budget makes progress in a number of other areas, including training more nurses, expanding mental health and addictions services and capital investments in our hospitals, though physicians would have liked to also see more immediate steps in other priority areas such as making virtual care permanent and taking steps to retain doctors, nurses and other health care workers who are feeling burnt out, devalued and distressed. 

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