Right Care. Right Time. Right Place.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 1. Why are these changes being made?

    Manitoba families deserve to have access to the right care, at the right time, in the right place. That's why the Manitoba government and the regional health authorities are making significant changes to improve health care service delivery in Manitoba.

  2. 2. Why is the province creating Shared Health?

    Like every organization, the health system is always striving to be better. Across the province, there are talented, dedicated staff, ensuring Manitobans are getting the best health care possible.

    For staff to be the best they can be, they need a system that supports them every step of the way. That's why we're embarking on a transformation of the health system, to integrate health-care services throughout the province, helping every health-care provider to be more effective and helping to optimize patient care, both now and in the future.

    Shared Health, led by Dr. Brock Wright, will support a better-connected provincial planning process and develop a provincial clinical and preventive services plan. The organization will also provide coordinated clinical and business support to Manitoba's regional health authorities.

  3. 3. Why does the province need a provincial clinical and preventive services plan?

    A coordinated provincial clinical and preventive services plan supports the best delivery of care and use of resources - including human, capital and financial - province-wide. Better-planned services will mean improved access to consistent, reliable quality health-care services, right across the province.

  4. 4. What will be the main components of the plan?

    The provincial clinical services plan will be founded on the idea that health-care needs are always changing. It will be flexible and able to evolve while continuing to focus on accessible and sustainable patient care provided by skilled health-care professionals.

  5. 5. What is this plan based on?

    In 2015, the province hired Dr. David Peachey to review the state of Manitoba's healthcare system and to make recommendations on what was needed to develop clinical service plans based on evidence, sustainability and equity. More than 250 interviews were conducted with key system stakeholders and leaders across the province.

  6. 6. What were the findings of this report?

    Findings included that each region was providing quality care, but without a provincial plan to guide their work. Other findings included:
    · Care was not well-coordinated.
    · There were no provincial standards.
    · Rural care was fragmented.
    · Waiting lists were significant.
    · In particular, Dr. Peachey noted that "...we need to break away from the mindset that "more is better"."

  7. 7. What will be the role of Manitoba Health Seniors and Active Living and the regional health authorities?

    Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living will continue to lead the system in a number of areas, including policy support and planning, funding and performance requirements, oversight and accountability.

    Regional health authorities and provincial health organizations, such as CancerCare Manitoba and the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, will continue to be responsible for the delivery of health-care services.

  8. 8. How will the regions connect with Shared Health?

    Work is underway to set out the organizational structure of the Shared Health. However, we can confirm that people from across the province will be working together.

    Regional representatives from across the province will take part in provincial service planning with clinical specialty leaders working at Shared Health.
  10. 9. What organizations will become a part of Shared Health?

    Diagnostic Services Manitoba's corporate structure will be used as the foundation for Shared Health. In the coming months, DSM, along with other resources from the various joining organizations, will merge to help build Shared Health, and will include the management of DSM's laboratory and imaging services.

    As part of the transition, a number of information and communications technology (ICT) programs, including Manitoba eHealth, will come together to establish Digital Health under Shared Health. Digital Health will strengthen the existing relationships between current provincial ICT programs and strengthen digital health services in Manitoba. It will also enhance collaboration and shape the future of digital health services across the province.

    As Manitoba's hospital, HSC Winnipeg will continue to be a major tertiary referral centre for all regional health authorities in the province. The facility will provide acute hospital services including trauma, transplant, neurosciences, pediatrics, and many other areas of specialty, sub-specialty and intensive care in a learning environment.

    As work moves forward, there may be additional contributions from other organizations within the health system.

  11. 10. What does this mean for health care in my community?

    The work underway means some changes may have to take place as services are adjusted in communities across the province.

    While work is underway to set out the organizational structure of the Shared Health, we can confirm that people from across the province will be working together. As more details are confirmed about the organization's structure, more details will be provided.

  12. 11. How much will this cost?

    Detailed planning is underway and will continue over the next few months, including planning for costs associated with the creation of the provincial health organization and reducing the scope of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. It is expected that changes will be funded through existing budgets. As this work continues, we will share more information.

  13. 12. Who will Shared Health report to?

    Shared Health will be operated by a board of directors with representation from Winnipeg as well as rural and northern Manitoba. Health, Seniors and Active Living will continue to take the lead on policy development, funding, performance monitoring and the oversight and accountability of the regions and the provincial health organization.

  14. 13. How many people will be employed by Shared Health?

    Detailed planning is underway and will continue over the next several months. As this work continues and transition details are finalized, we will share more information.

  15. 14. How soon with Shared Health be established?

    Detailed planning is ongoing and we expect the organization to be operational by the beginning of the 2018-19 fiscal year.

  16. 15. What about other corporations like CancerCare Manitoba?

    CancerCare Manitoba is already a centralized organization, and there are no plans at this time to adjust the work of the organization.

  17. 16. How do people know which hospital to go to if they need help?

    If your illness or injury is life threatening, call 911. Paramedics will provide care as they take you to an emergency department. You can also access care from your primary health care provider for less urgent health issues.

  18. 17. Why call 911? Won't it be faster if I drive?

    Paramedics are trained and ambulances are equipped to provide vital health treatment as soon as they arrive and during transit - so in a life-threatening emergency, it is always best to call 911. For illnesses like strokes and heart attacks, this treatment can make a big difference.

  19. 18. Why aren't regions recruiting more doctors and other health care professionals?

    As in many other jurisdictions, regional health authorities in Manitoba face a number of challenges when recruiting health care professionals to rural communities. Studies have shown some reasons include a heavier workload with a large number of patients to see and patients who require more care, difficulty taking time off and maintaining a work-life balance, fewer opportunities for continuing education, professional isolation, limited job opportunities for spouses and even a lack of afterschool programs and daycare for their children.

    Regions continue their work to recruit and retain physicians and other health professionals in rural communities. However, changes need to be made now to ensure safe, quality care for Manitobans in rural communities while using their resources most efficiently and effectively.

  20. 19. Ambulance costs are high in my region. What if I can't afford to call an ambulance?

    Costs for transportation by ambulance are not insured by provinces, including Manitoba. These costs are the responsibility of the patient, whether a resident of Manitoba or elsewhere.

    Insurance can provide coverage for ambulance fees and can be affordable, even for those on a fixed income. In addition, a commitment has been made to reduce current average fees by 50 per cent by 2020. To date, fees have been reduced from an average of $500 to $425, which is 30 per cent towards goal of reducing fees by half.

  21. 20. Why is the province closing EMS stations?

    Some sites have difficulty retaining enough staff to provide services and many rural EMS stations are staffed part time, with staff on-call or called back to provide care outside of regular hours. This increases response times and costs, as staff first have to return to the station and then go out on the call. Other sites receive very low volumes of calls, which is not an efficient use of resources.

    A review of ambulances services in 2013 recommended the relocation or restructuring of a number of station locations across southern Manitoba. This will allow us to better locate the services and match resources with actual call volumes to achieve response time standards.

  22. 21. Won't this make response times longer?

    Staffing the remaining and new stations 24 hours a day, seven days a week will allow a more rapid response to emergency calls than is possible with a reliance on on-call or call back staff.

    The approved response time standard in Manitoba is a response of no more than 30 minutes for 90 per cent of the population, 90 per cent of the time. In 2015/16, 95.52 per cent of calls south of the 53rd parallel met this standard during daytime hours and 94.67 per cent during night time hours.

  23. 22. If response times are meeting the standards 95 per cent of the time, why are changes being made?

    There is still more that can be done to improve services. Some sites are only open for limited hours, which means staff are only at the ambulance station for part of the time. This means that if a call is received outside of regular hours, on-call or standby staff have to return to the station before going out on the call. This increases response times and costs, and is not an efficient way to provide services.

  24. 23. Will the province need to hire more paramedics to provide 24/7 services?

    Additional planning is underway and will continue over the next several months to ensure that all staffing needs are planned for and identified.

    The province is already investing more than $1.7 million for enhanced paramedic staffing across three regional health authorities. The new 29.2 full-time equivalent, primary care paramedic positions will be located in Arborg, Ashern, Glenboro, Waterhen, Gladstone/Kinosota, Carman, and Morris. Four positions have already been filled with highly skilled candidates while hiring for the remaining positions will begin immediately.

  25. 24. What happens if the ambulance closest to my community is out on a call? Won't the response times be longer if it has to travel from further away to reach me?

    When an ambulance is on a call, resources are shifted to ensure the ambulance can respond quickly when needed.

    For example: Community A and Community B both have ambulance stations. When an ambulance in Community B is sent out on a call, the ambulance from Community A can be sent to a point in between the two communities. This ensures both communities have ambulance coverage in case a second call is received.

    This work already happens in rural Manitoba to ensure coverage is available when people need it most. This is known as `flexible dispatch'.

  26. 25. When are the changes going to be made?

    Changes will be made gradually over the next few years. This will give us time to ensure new stations are built and 24/7 services are in place before stations are closed.

  27. 26. I'm a paramedic. What does this mean for my job?

    Detailed planning is underway and will continue over the next several months. As work progresses, we will be working with staff and the unions to develop plans around staffing and the effects of planned changes. As this work continues and transition details are finalized, we will share more information.

  28. 27. I am a paramedic and often work on-call or standby shifts. How will these changes affect my work?

    Detailed planning is underway and will continue over the next several months. As work progresses, we will be working with staff and the unions to develop plans around staffing and the effects of planned changes. As this work continues and transition details are finalized, we will share more information.

  29. 28. Won't it just be faster to just drive myself to the nearest hospital?

    Paramedics provide a high level of care from the moment they reach a patient until they get to a health care facility. The fastest way to get help for a medical emergency is to call 911. For communities without 911 service, the front of the local phone book will list emergency numbers.