Manitoba plans 14 new health centres as doctor deadline looms
Province made 2011 election promise to get all Manitobans access to a family doctor
The province is trying to make good on a promise that all Manitobans would have a family doctor by 2015.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Erin Selby unveiled plans to create new health centres across the province.
The new centres, called My Health Teams, will include doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, midwives, dietitians, mental health professionals, pharmacists and other health professionals.
There are 14 units planned across Manitoba, with the first to get up and running in Steinbach this spring.
The teams will be "collaborating on a more intentional level with other health care providers in the areas of chronic disease, nursing, mental health, public health and dietician services” said Dr. mark Duerksen of Steinbach Family Medical.
“It may not look different when you walk in the door, but the difference is that everything will be there that you need,” said Selby.
She said it may also mean doctors can take on more patients.
“Your doctor may be able to free up some of their time,” she said.
Also part of the plan is to improve health care in the province – more quick care clinics.
Something Winnipegger Kerry Flemington is happy about. She stopped at one on Tuesday and found out her four-year-old daughter has bronchitis.
“It was fantastic. I actually just told them that I think this is such a great way to deal with non-emergencies but still urgent ailments,” she said.
The province said it’s all part of ensuring Manitobans have access to the health care they need.
But right now, only about 85 per cent of Manitobans have a family doctor.
Sonio Onysko’s husband isn’t one of them. She’s been looking for a family doctor for her husband for two years.
“I’ve tried with different ones, and they say, ‘We’re not accepting new patients,’” she said.
The NDP promised universal access to a family doctor by 2015 during their 2011 election campaign.
Selby said she’s confident the province can make up the last 15 per cent soon.
“Absolutely confident,” she said. “We’ve brought in more than 560 doctors since we’ve been in office.”
Opposition leader Brian Pallister isn’t so sure that target will be met.
“Making announcements – government is great at that. Follow through – not so good,” he said.
Onysko doesn’t believe it either.
“I’ll believe it when I see it. Other than that, no,” she said.