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Province Introduces New Plan to Protect Universal Health Care

News Release – Manitoba
May 17, 2012

Healthier Manitobans, Better Health Services, Better Value Key Pillars to Sustain System: Oswald

The province is introducing a new plan to protect front-line health care to meet the needs of Manitobans now and in the years ahead, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“Over the past 12 years, we have made significant investments in our health-care system to make it as comprehensive as possible including hiring more doctors and nurses, reducing wait times and offering more services closer to home,” said Oswald. “With a growing population that is living longer, expensive advancements in medicine and global economic uncertainty, we’re introducing a plan to focus on what matters most to protect universal health care so it is here for families today and in the years ahead.”Focused on What Matters Most: Manitoba’s Plan to Protect Universal Health Carehas three key pillars: healthier Manitobans, better health services and better value:

• To help Manitobans make healthier choices, the province will focus its efforts on tobacco reduction, injury prevention, increasing access to screening, improving breast-feeding rates, and increasing physical activity and healthy diets, all of which help to prevent cancers and other chronic diseases and avoid the need for more costly health-care diagnostics and treatment.
• Expanding home care and ensuring all Manitobans have access to a family doctor are key components of government’s plan to provide better health services and build a more sustainable health-care system. Home care and primary care not only offer better, more convenient care closer to home, they are cost-effective alternatives to hospital-based care.
• The province will also continue to deliver better value for the funding invested in health care by taking steps to streamline health-care administration with fewer regional health authorities, limiting corporate spending and improving financial accountability, aggressively expanding bulk purchasing and ensuring Manitoba is getting fair prices for generic drugs, reducing workplace injuries and continuing to hire and train alternate health-care providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

“We will expand home care to more seniors and offer innovative programs to help seniors stay at home longer,” said Oswald. “We will also ensure more families can access same-day or next-day appointments with their family doctor and open more QuickCare Clinics to offer more choices for after-hours, non-urgent care needs.”

Building on the reduction in the number of regional health authorities announced last month, Manitoba’s Plan to Protect Universal Health Care will be used to guide investments and decision-making throughout the health-care system to ensure convenient and high-quality services are offered to more families closer to home and at the best possible value, Oswald noted.

“Governments have to make choices in the face of economic uncertainty and we have chosen to protect front-line health care rather than cut front-line services as has happened in the past,” said Oswald. “Our plan will not only protect health services for families today but also ensure the
long-term sustainability of universal health care to ensure Manitoba families have the front-line services they need for years to come.”

To read the full plan, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/plan.html.

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