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Province to spend $200 million to add 2K health-care workers

Manitoba announced on Thursday, November 10, 2022, that it will be spending $200 million to retain, train and recruit 2,000 health-care professionals in a move to end mandated overtime.

“While all jurisdictions are facing significant human health resources challenges, and while we continue to wait for the federal government to come to the table to increase its share of health funding, we are taking the necessary action here in Manitoba to strengthen our health system now and well into the future,” said Premier Heather Stefanson.

Under the plan those working in the system will see:

  • weekend premium: an additional hourly premium for weekend hours worked as well as a new ‘weekend worker’ position for individuals who work straight weekends;
  • wellness incentive: additional support for mental-health counselling;
  • full-time incentive: additional compensation for nurses who occupy a full-time equivalent position;
  • reimbursing licencing fees: reimbursement for health-care professionals employed within the Manitoba public system for their annual professional licensing fees;
  • activate a joint nursing council with a focus on working conditions, work life, and recruitment and retention of nurses;
  • provincial float pool: creation of a provincial float pool, which was agreed to under the 2021 Manitoba Nurses Union collective agreement;
  • institutional safety officers: increasing the number of peace officers for large emergency departments across Manitoba;
  • establishing a centralized service, called Virtual Emergency Care and Transfer Resource Service (VECTRS), to support rural and northern physicians and other health-care providers to obtain specialist consultative advice, locate the most appropriate bed available in another hospital when needed, and co-ordinate inter-facility medical transportation to the most appropriate facility when required;
  • practice stabilization support: financial support for increased personal protective equipment costs due to the pandemic;
  • primary care hours: incentive for doctor’s offices to extend hours so patients can access primary care when more appropriate than an emergency department visit;
  • community health clinic incentive: incentives for community clinics to extend hours;
  • physician collaboration tool expansion: to improve patient care by allowing better rapid consultation with specialists and streamlining consultations;
  • psychotherapy virtual care: expanding virtual care to group psychotherapy visits;
  • reduce physician administration: establishing a joint task force to reduce administrative burden for physicians;
  • remote location incentive: working to incentivize extremely remote sites;
  • mental health supports: working with health-care professions, their associations and representatives to provide mental health and burnout supports for physicians, nurses and allied health professionals;
  • enhanced security for emergency departments: working to implement actions to promote staff safety;
  • emergency department incentives: working to provide incentives for emergency departments.

The province intends to train new health-care staff and upgrade those returning from retirement and internationally educated nurses. They also intend to increase the number of publicly funded psychiatry and psychology positions. Intake for doctor and nurse education classes will be increased.

The plan will also offer incentives to those who are currently qualified and wish to practise in Manitoba by:

  • nurse referral program: financial incentive for publicly funded nurses who refer a returning agency nurse;
  • returning nurse program: financial incentive for returning nurses;
  • tuition rebate: tuition incentive for nurses holding full-time positions;
  • eligible retiree program: financial incentive for retired nurses to return in a coaching, mentoring or support role for newer nurses;
  • modernizing MOU with the Philippines: enabling recruitment from Philippines; and
  • professional testing addressing testing costs and remedial training for returning, retired and international nurses.

“We will continue to work with all levels of health care from leadership to front-line workers to gather feedback and ideas to improve the health-care system for those employed within it and for all Manitobans,” said Health Minister Audrey Gordon.

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