Letter to the Editor: Phase I Fails to Reduce Wait Times

Publish date: Monday, October 29, 2018

The following letter was submitted to the Winnipeg Free Press on October 25th. 

Re: Health-Care overhaul has reduced ER, urgent-care wait times, WRHA data shows (Oct. 24)

I was disappointed to read that the WRHA is again trying to cherry-pick their data to serve a political purpose. This time, they decided to compare September 2018 wait times to April 2017 wait times, and credit a reduction to their health care changes. However, this point is moot, as no major changes had been implemented as of April 2017. Phase I was implemented starting in October 2017, when wait times were 1.35 hours, and have been higher ever since!

If the WRHA wants to take credit for reducing wait times as a result of major health care changes, they should be upfront with Winnipeggers and compare to more relevant data points. As Ms. Lamont states herself, “wait times are something that fluctuate day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month”. To suggest there has been significant decline by referencing a month with a spike in wait times before major changes were made is misleading at best.

And further, wait times offer only a glimpse into the overall performance of our health care system. It’s important to remember that these changes were rushed, and have had widespread impacts on nurses, health care workers and patients throughout the system. Nurses are reporting increasing workloads and patient volumes, and are working increased amounts of voluntary and mandatory overtime at HSC, Grace, and St. Boniface hospitals. Before applauding themselves for ‘healing our system’, the WRHA and provincial government should get to work on the issues they've made worse. They can start by listening to frontline nurses and reconsidering their Phase II plans.


Darlene Jackson
Manitoba Nurses Union


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