Manitoba's New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives both issued election promises related to health care on Tuesday, with both parties both proposing to hire more front-line workers.
NDP Leader Greg Selinger said if his party is re-elected in the Oct. 4 provincial election, he will hire 2,000 more nurses over the next four years and increase funding for nurses and training spots in nursing schools.
Selinger is also promising to pay the full tuition of nursing students who agree to work in rural or northern areas after graduation.
He said the promises will cost $74 million over four years.
The NDP also promised to build an ambulance station in Île-des-Chênes to serve rural communities southwest of Winnipeg. Selinger said the new station would provide rapid emergency care to people in Lorette, Grande Pointe, St. Adolphe and Niverville.
The station would cost about $750,000 to build and another $500,000 to staff and operate each year. A new ambulance would also be leased.
PCs unveil health plan
Meanwhile, Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen officially unveiled his party's health plan on Tuesday, promising to fill 2,165 frontline health-care positions over six years if elected.
According to the Tories' health plan, the positions would include:
- 250 more doctors.
- 1,700 more nurses.
- 40 physicians' assistants.
- 75 nurse practitioners.
- 25 mental-health and addictions counsellors.
- 75 other health professionals.
McFadyen also promised, among other things, to boost the number of medical residency positions, increase the number of nursing training seats by five per cent, and train more nurse practitioners for "high-need areas."
As well, the Tories pledged a medical helicopter in Brandon and five new ambulances in Winnipeg if they are elected.
McFadyen said the total cost for his party's health plan would about $118 million each year.
The NDP argued that hiring and training all the 2,165 health-care professionals the Tories are promising would cost double that amount, or $236 million a year.