Manitoba Daily

Monday, December 6, 2021

Concerns about emergency room service in rural Manitoba are rising

Key sentence:

  • There were 2,719 unplanned service suspensions at Manitoba facilities between July 1 and September 30. 
  • Kevin Barylski went to the hospital in Arborg following a chainsaw accident, intending to get stitches.

Kevin Barylski went to the medical room after an accident with a chainsaw in Arborg, hoping to obtain sutures. However, his intentions were abruptly altered when he learned that no one was available to provide care.

“It’s like going to a restaurant without a cook,” Barylsk says of going to a hospital and being told they don’t apply stitches.

He drove 35 minutes to the nearby town of Gimli, where his six-centimetre wound was stitched together with eight stitches. His frustrations persist even after his wound heals.

“For something as basic as sutures, which you can’t even receive in a hospital, that’s beyond… “I don’t know what to say.”

The situation with Barylski is not unique. For example, there were 2,719 unplanned service suspensions at Manitoba facilities between July 1 and September 30. Shared Health, on the other hand, claims that this is a 704-day improvement year over year.

Also read: The latest provincial health order has caught pharmacists off guard in Manitoba

Uzoma Asagwara, a Manitoba NDP health critic and Union Station MLA, believes this will have ramifications.

“As a result of that, we’ll see more people abandoning their neighbourhood, and we’ll see people have preventable, tragic outcomes because they weren’t able to seek timely health care near home,” Asagwara adds.

“We’re talking about investing now for the future,” Asagwara says, “not just about people being able to visit an emergency department today or stay in a personal care home in their communities tomorrow.”

Concerns about access to rural Manitoba emergency department rises.

Barlyski acknowledges that his position is minor in comparison to what may be disastrous for others.

“It was just a couple of stitches for me.” What if it’s a snowmobile accident, a farming accident, or a hunting accident when seconds are crucial and count?” Barylski agrees.

“This is my parents’ hometown, and you’re not getting decent health care while this is going on.”

“There are also several facilities whose emergency depts are on long suspension (some dating back decades) and also others that experience intermittent unexpected suspensions due to the temporary worker or physician shortages, equipment repairs, as well as other factors,” Shared Health says in a statement to Global News.

Audrey Gordon, the Minister of Health, deferred to Shared Health when asked for a statement.

“Perhaps we should look at privatised health care, where certain people who want it can receive it,” Barylski says, “because the way the current system is working, it isn’t.”

The Manitoba government has set aside $812 million for a clinical and preventive services plan this year. It aims to build a network of hubs across the province staffed and equipped to provide more consistent access to services closer to home.

Source: Global News

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