Premier Brian Pallister announced that the Manitoba government will be investing at least $50 million to reduce surgical wait times as part of Budget 2021.
“Protecting the health of Manitobans is a priority for our government, especially in the face of a global pandemic,” said Pallister. “COVID-19 has challenged our health-care system and created a pandemic pileup of delayed surgeries and procedures. We know that every delay represents someone who is suffering while they wait, which is why we’re making this major investment to address the surgical backlog and get Manitobans the care they need sooner.”
Budget 2021 will commit a minimum of $50 million in new funding to reduce the wait times for surgeries and procedures delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will address wait times for priority procedures and services, as well as hip, knee and cataract procedures. More details on this new funding will be announced following the release of Budget 2021.
This investment in wait-time reductions is another example of the province’s actions to deliver better care sooner for Manitobans, the premier said. It also highlights the need for a serious, stable and long-term commitment from the federal government to restore its rightful role as a true funding partner to sustain health care in across Canada, he added.
“Health care is the number one issue for Canadians and that has only been underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Pallister. “While we are making significant investments to address the issue of wait times here in Manitoba, we continue to call on the federal government to come to the table as a true, reliable funding partner on health care. Short-term promises are not enough to address the systemic, long-term problem of ever-increasing health-care wait times in this country.”
Earlier this month, Canada’s premiers called on the federal government to increase significantly the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) in the upcoming federal budget. Currently, provinces and territories pay for nearly 80 per cent of health-care costs with the federal share continuing to decline. The Manitoba government supports the call for the federal government to increase its contribution toward health-care costs to 35 per cent, which will help further reduce wait times and create a more secure and sustainable funding framework for Canadian health care.