Manitoba

Winnipeg health-care poll a 'condemnation of premier's leadership': Manitoba NDP

A poll suggesting a spike in the percentage of Winnipeggers who think the city's health care is getting worse shows the government isn't listening to voters, New Democrats say.

September 2018 poll showed 38% of respondents felt health-care services got worse in past year

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew presented a fall 2018 poll in question period Monday, showing 38 per cent of respondents thought Winnipeg health-care services had changed for the worse in the past year. (Thaiview/Shutterstock)

Manitoba New Democrats say a poll suggesting a spike in the percentage of Winnipeggers who think the city's health care is getting worse shows the government isn't listening to voters.

In a September 2018 poll commissioned by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, 38 per cent of respondents felt the city's health-care services had changed for the worse over the past year, up from the 20 per cent of respondents who felt that way in 2017.

Results of the Probe Research poll were obtained by the NDP through a freedom of information request and shared with CBC News.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew presented the results during question period on Monday. He said the numbers show Winnipeggers aren't happy with sweeping changes to the health-care system under the Progressive Conservative government.

"This is evidence that the premier is not listening to Manitobans when it comes to health care. People are saying it's getting worse," Kinew told reporters at the legislature.

"Why they don't listen to Manitobans, to me, it's just a condemnation of this premier's leadership style."

The first phase of the dramatic overall included the closure of the emergency room at Victoria General Hospital and the urgent care centre at Misericordia Health Centre.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen announced last week the province has enlisted Dr. David Peachey, the consultant who laid out the original plan for the changes, to review the second phase, which would include closing emergency rooms at the Concordia and Seven Oaks hospitals.

On Monday, Pallister said it's not surprising change on that scale isn't universally popular. However, he said, the status quo in Manitoba wasn't working.

"I'm always concerned when I hear politicians quoting polls as a reason to make public policy. That's the reason we didn't have any progress under the previous government," he said.

"Polls aside, change is hard. It would surprise me if everyone loved change. That's why it's hard. It's necessary, though, for us to move from dead last in the country to shorter wait times."

Probe said the poll was conducted through four quarterly rounds of interviewing for a total of 1,000 telephone interviews between November 2017 and August 2018.

With that sample, it can be said with 95 per cent certainty that the results are within + 3.1 percentage points of what they would have been if the entire adult population of the Winnipeg area had been interviewed.

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