Need for Change

Need for Change

Manitoba's health care system is very good at treating the very sick. Data shows the system performs well in emergency situations, when minutes count. But Manitoba remains at or near the bottom of national rankings in a number of categories, including waits for emergency department services and some diagnostic tests and surgeries.

In part, this is because Manitoba's health care system is very complex. The health system's budget is more than $6 billion each year. Five regional health authorities, three health organizations and more than 200 service delivery and stakeholder organizations provide care for 1.3 million people. And, more than 55,000 staff work in 183 different bargaining units.

With the exception of a few organizations whose mandates are to plan provincially, Manitoba has taken a regional approach to planning. This has resulted in duplicate services, uncoordinated service delivery and the absence of a provincial clinical and preventive services plan.

The current health system is overwhelmingly centred on hospital-based services. The delivery cost for this kind of system is much higher than for one with a focus on community and preventive services. Fewer patients can be managed, leading to long waits for some services.

A better option to ensure long-term sustainability is to change how care is delivered in Manitoba. The health system transformation process allows the opportunity to look broadly at what services are offered and to create a plan focusing on better health care sooner across the province.