New contracts announced to cut down on surgery backlog in Manitoba

By | August 17, 2020

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government announced on Monday it awarded five contracts worth $2.5 million to deal with the backlog in surgeries, after the pandemic put thousands of procedures on hold.

The province temporarily halted elective surgeries in March to free up health care resources to respond to COVID-19. They resumed again in April, reaching 90 per cent of normal levels by June, according to the Manitoba government.

“This announcement shows that our government places a high priority on getting the system back on track with innovative solutions that will accelerate these procedures for so many Manitobans,” said Health Minister Cameron Friesen in a news release Monday.

Starting September patients will once again undergo the following procedures:

  • echocardiogram exams, which test how heart muscles and valves are working;
  • urology procedures;
  • orthopaedic spine procedures; and
  • foot and hand surgeries.

The five contracts were awarded to both public and private facilities. The province did not list who received them. CTV News has reached out to find out who was awarded each contract.

The NDP criticized the private contracts, saying they open the door to a “two-tiered, American-style health care system.”

“Manitobans know continued privatization will result in worse health services,” said NDP Health Critic Uzoma Asagwara. “This is the wrong approach to clear the backlog created by the Premier’s health care cuts.”

The province said more contracts will be announced in the coming months and that by March 2021, it will have rescheduled more than 8,000 surgeries and medical exams.

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