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PMH vacancies, cuts part of normal operations: Gilson

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Manitoba NDP are questioning why, at the height of the second wave of the pandemic, Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in the Prairie Mountain Health region (PMH) were understaffed by more than 19 per cent, leaving the most vulnerable patients with less care at the bedside when they needed it most.
“Having a loved one admitted to the ICU is one of the scariest things a family can endure. The last thing families need at this time is to worry whether or not their loved one is getting the direct care they need,” said Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew.
“Yet the PCs let ICUs in Prairie Mountain Health go understaffed at the peak of the second wave. This is completely irresponsible. They had time to hire more nurses and prepare for the second wave in Prairie Mountain Health, but they did nothing. Families deserve a government that does everything it can to ensure their loved ones get the best care when they need it most.”
The Manitoba NDP learned of the vacancy rates through Freedom of Information requests, which also revealed four health care positions have been cut within PMH over the last year, including a director of Primary Care, two Care Team managers and one executive director of Information Services, Capital Planning and Infrastructure.
According to PMH CEO Penny Gilson, changes to improve and simplify the health system are underway as part of Manitoba’s Health System Transformation with efforts to improve consistency and co-ordination across Manitoba’s health delivery organizations referred to as Service Delivery Organization Realignment.
“This work involves shifts in leadership and oversight to focus organizations on the delivery of health care services locally, with clearly defined portfolio areas to support acute care and community and continuing care,” Gilson said, adding at any point in time there are staff vacancies in any PMH program or service and throughout the pandemic the ICU beds in Brandon have been staffed.
She added the role of director of Primary Health Care was vacant and that responsibility now falls within the portfolio of director of Health Services (Primary Care).
“Prairie Mountain Health’s ability to support or oversee operational responsibilities remains unchanged. There is no impact on the day-to-day work of frontline staff as a result of these changes,” Gilson said.