Manitoba Daily

Friday, January 28, 2022

Northern Manitoba officials warned of a nursing shortage it impact on care

Key takeaways:

  • Officials in certain northern Manitoba communities have expressed worry about a nurse shortage, alleging that it impacts people’s health and services.
  • According to Mayor Jim Shortt, there is only one manager for three distinct hospitals in the region, all of which are hours away.
  • According to Lindsey, the PC government needs to consider what services are needed in the north.

Officials in some northern Manitoba communities raise concerns about a nurse shortage, claiming it affects people’s health and services.

While there is a nurse shortage across Manitoba, according to Tom Lindsey, the NDP MLA for Flin Flon, it is more critical in the north since the number of nurses in those regions is fewer.

“Everything suffers when you’re that short,” Lindsey said. “Whether it’s Flin Flon, The Pas, Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids, all those towns have experienced a degradation of services.”

“You can no longer give birth in any of those towns. You’ve got to get out of here.”

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On Friday, the Manitoba Nurses Union took to Twitter to request Lynn Lake, Gilliam, and Snow Lake assistance.

According to Lindsey, the PC government has destroyed and amalgamated health care institutions and services in the north during the previous five years. A shortage of nurses in the region is creating havoc on the community as a whole.

“Although we bring in agency nurses, they fly in and out. They aren’t a member of the community, they don’t live there, and they don’t pay taxes.”

According to the Northern Health Region, three out of four Licensed Practical Nurse posts and four out of five Registered Nurse positions in Lynn Lake are empty.

According to the town council, nearly all Lynn Lake’s nurse posts were filled by persons living in the neighborhood five years ago. Almost all of the roles are now open.

Another issue, according to Mayor Jim Shortt, is that there is only one manager for three distinct hospitals in the region, all of which are hours away.

Northern Manitoba officials warn nursing shortage  impacting care

“Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids, and Gillam are the furthest east and west you can reach in Manitoba,” Shortt remarked.

“It almost seems impossible for one individual to handle it.”

Victoria Phillips, a Lynn Lake City Council member, previously worked as a public health nurse. She argues that having one manager in charge of many hospitals in the north endangers patients and employees.

“You have nothing if you don’t have that individual in the community supporting the folks there,” Phillips added.

“You don’t have somebody to speak out for the employees. You have no one to speak up for the individuals who continue to receive substandard health care.”

A spokeswoman for Manitoba Health and Seniors Care said in a statement to CTV News:

“Our administration is still working to alleviate the nursing shortage across the province, particularly during COVID-19’s fourth wave. 

We added nearly 400 new nursing education seats, are going to support over 1,800 internationally educated nurse applicants to begin practicing in Manitoba, and added 60 new full-time nursing positions to ICUs in Brandon, Grace Hospital, St. Boniface, and HSC, in addition to recent incentives to increase ICU nurse capacity.”

According to Lindsey, the PC government needs to consider what services are needed in the north.

“It is going to be costly. There’s no doubt about that, but we need to figure out how to properly support it rather than simply keep cutting.”

Source: CTV News

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