Pallister Government Continues to Undermine Health Care, Break its Election Promise by Closing Four Winnipeg QuickCare Clinics

The Pallister government is closing four more QuickCare clinics in Winnipeg, reducing staff-to-patient ratios and hiking fees for long-term care patients, which will further undermine health care for families, NDP Health Critic Matt Wiebe said today.

“Today, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority admitted it was making further major reductions in medical services across the city in direct response to the Pallister government’s directive to cut $83 million from its budget,” Wiebe said. “Brian Pallister’s promise to protect frontline health services is in tatters because of his uncompromising austerity plan.”

The WRHA announced today it will close QuickCare Clinics on Vermillion Road, Portage Avenue, Jefferson Avenue and Dakota Street by the end of January 2018. The QuickCare clinic on St. Mary’s Road was closed earlier this year. In 2016, 31,600 patients visited four of these clinics, not including the Vermillion Road clinic.

This follows the earlier announcement of the closure of the emergency room at Concordia Hospital, the conversion of the emergency rooms at Seven Oaks Hospital and Grace Hospital to urgent care centres, and the closure of the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre, which treats 30,000 patients annually.

“Families across the city are losing access to primary health care in their own communities and will be forced to travel further for treatment,” Wiebe said. “The government can’t pretend that requiring the remaining facilities to handle tens of thousands more patients is going to improve health care.”

As well as cutting services, the WRHA is raising fees charged to patients in the long-term care program, including doubling the adult day program daily fee from $8.85 to $17.70 and hiking the transportation fee for geriatric day hospital from $10 to $15.

“These fee increases will affect seniors and other patients at a time when they are already vulnerable,” Wiebe said. “It is unfair for patients to have to shoulder the financial burden and disruption the Pallister government is creating in the name of austerity.”