Taking action on wait times

Better Care Sooner

Manitobans share a common vision of a health care system that provides better care sooner, one that delivers quality care to all Manitobans when they need it, now and into the future.

Wait times are one of the ways we measure the quality of our health care system. Reducing wait times is a key part of the government's overall plan to continue to improve the health care system and help get more Manitobans living healthy lives. In fact, Manitoba has been taking action on wait times since the late 1990s when we became concerned about excessive wait times for cancer treatments and cardiac surgery. Today, Manitobans enjoy a health care system that both patients and experts rank among the highest in Canada in delivering quality health outcomes.

More doctors, more nurses

More Doctors, More Nurses

Taking action on wait times started with re-investing in doctors, nurses and other health professionals who are the foundation of any health care system. In partnership with regional health authorities and communities, we reversed the outflow of doctors and nurses from the province through incentive programs and more competitive compensation packages.

To plan for the future, we increased funding to education, training and incentive programs. These efforts were successful in helping to reduce wait times for life-and-death procedures and to provide better access to care. Challenges remain, however. There are national shortages in high-demand specialties, such as anaesthesia, and many health professionals are approaching retirement age. Investing in people will, therefore, continue to be a high priority in the coming years.

Re-investing, re-building

Taking action on wait times also meant investing in technology and new state-of-the art facilities that attract the highest quality professionals and provide better care. From large capital projects, such as the new hospital in Brandon and the redevelopment of the Health Sciences Centre, to the introduction of cutting-edge technologies, such as the gamma knife and PET scanner, the province has been investing for the future. Today, critical diagnostic tests, such as MRIs and CTs, are now being done throughout the province.

Manitoba’s Wait Time Reduction Strategy

The government’s plan builds on these successful strategies from the past, proven strategies from other jurisdictions and made-in-Manitoba innovations. It is focused on the priorities of Manitobans, with significant dollars committed to programs such as hip and knee replacements and diagnostic tests. The $155 million plan was developed in close consultation with physicians and regional health authorities, reflecting the needs of Manitobans.

There are five main elements to the strategy:

  • more surgeries - $57.1 million;
  • more diagnostic testing - $25.5 million;
  • more health professionals - $12.4 million;
  • prevention and health promotion - $17.2 million, and;
  • system innovation and better wait-list management - $10.5 million.

Here are some examples of key successes:

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Investing in Change

A key feature of the strategy is investing in change, by working with partners to transform the way wait lists are managed and coordinated. Traditionally, wait lists and wait time information have been managed by individual physicians and facilities in isolation from other parts of the system. This is not the best way to provide quality care, nor is it the most efficient use of your health care dollar.

Manitoba Patient Access Network (MPAN)

The government is working with health partners in building the Manitoba Patient Access Network (MPAN) to improve patient access to care and co-ordinate wait lists on a regional and provincial basis. It will give Manitobans more options and they will be able to better monitor progress in achieving the shared goal of better care sooner.

Together, we are moving toward a health care system that is more patient-focused, more transparent and more accountable. This is probably the most important action being taken to reduce wait times.


Download the Working for Better Health Care Sooner brochure PDF [860 kb].