The provincial government announced the second phase of their healthcare plan.

Nurse practitioners could replace ER doctors in some rural communities.

Wab Kinew, leader of Manitoba’s NDP was quick to share his disappointment.

“Basically, what you saw with them closing emergency rooms in Winnipeg and all the chaos that created for Winnipeg emergency rooms, it now looks like they are trying to ship that outside of the perimeter to communities across rural Manitoba.”

Kinew’s major concern is the ER’s that stay open, such as Dauphin’s, could see a major uptake in patients and might cause problems and increase wait times. Kinew says the conservatives didn’t take the time to learn from the mistakes they made in closing Winnipeg emergency rooms.

“What I mean by that is they didn’t stop to talk to the nurses and healthcare aids who said things were going off the rails. Before having done that they’re now trying to move ahead with this plan that will close emergency departments in rural Manitoba, probably in Westman and the Parkland.”

The province is investing 2 billion dollars in Manitoba’s healthcare system over the next four years, 250 million will go towards initiatives to improve access to services and reduce waitlists for Manitoba patients.

Kinew would’ve done some things a little differently.

“There should be investments made in prevention, preventing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Let’s keep people healthy in the community and then when you see people have better health, and then you could look at changes to clinics and things like that. But here we’re seeing the government do the exact opposite. They’re trying to make the changes on the clinical level without actually having done anything to make people healthier.”

Over the next five years, the plan is expected to move 21,000 days of care away from Winnipeg’s acute facilities and back into local communities across the province, prevent the need for 2,500 patient transports to Winnipeg, as rural facilities are better equipped to provide care, give all Manitobans access to lab results via a new secure patient service portal, eliminating the need to travel to doctors and specialists to retrieve those results, provide 50,000 additional in-person home care visits while modernizing the system to provide more and better care, provide 800 Manitobans with access to remote monitoring of their chronic conditions, allowing them to remain in the community, closer to home, and extend Manitoba’s acute care electronic record system to 800,000 patients, enabling health-care providers to have a clear and consistent understanding of their patients’ care requirements.