Singh in Winnipeg to call for health deals to fund more workers, not cash-for-care corps that poach staff « Canada’s NDP

February 28, 2023 at 1:00 am  Federal, Politics

WINNIPEG— Canada’s NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was in Winnipeg Tuesday to call on the federal government to ensure federal health funding will go towards hiring much-needed health care workers to reduce hospital wait times — instead of for-profit corporations that will bleed even more workers out of hospitals.

Singh said his call for a strings-attached approach is especially critical for Manitoba families. The shortage of health care workers in that province’s public system led to 26.5 per cent of all patients walking out of the hospital without receiving care in 2022 — yet Premier Heather Stefanson has signalled she’ll go even further down the road of giving for-profit corporations access to public health care dollars, while continuing to starve public hospitals. Singh is cautioning that if the prime minister signs off on for-profit health plans like Stefanson’s, the hospital worker crisis will get much worse.

“We believe that when your little one or your parent is sick you should always get care quickly,” said Singh. “But that’s not what’s happening after years of the Manitoba Conservative government’s approach: starving public health care and allowing for-profit care to take over. Hospitals are in crisis. People wait for hours, then decide to go back home and hope for the best. People wait months or even years for important surgeries. For-profit corporations have obviously not fixed Manitoba’s wait times — they’re longer than ever.

“New Democrats believe that new federal money should be used to staff up hospitals. We want Ottawa to partner with the provinces to recruit, retain and properly pay nurses, doctors and care aides. So when you need care, someone’s ready to help you.”

Singh said workers are being poached not only by for-profit clinics getting paid with public money, but also by a growing number of cash-for-care clinics popping up on Trudeau’s watch. Nurses, surgeons and other frontline health care workers are already working for corporate outfits charging nearly $30,000 for surgery, or $70 for a doctor’s appointment.

“No one is surprised that this is the Conservatives’ approach to health care, but Justin Trudeau campaigned on protecting the public system in the last election, and he’s flip-flopped on that commitment. Yet again, he promised one thing, and is doing the opposite,” said Singh. “Justin Trudeau and the premiers have the opportunity right now to start to solve the health care crisis. To do it, they have to recognize that the only thing that will solve the health care crisis is health care workers.”

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