Tuesday, March 7th at the Manitoba Legislature, the Hon. Cliff Cullen, Minister of Finance, delivered the provinces’ 2023-2024 Budget. The budget committed new funding to health care and social services that will help alleviate pressure on the acute care system and the nursing profession in our province. There is always more to be done to improve health care for Manitobans, but many of the steps announced today will deliver better results for the quality of care environments, the availability of trained health care workers including nurses, and to improve health and mental health services in rural communities. Total health funding increases by $668 million in new funding to $7.9 billion for 2023/2024.
2023 is an election year. With just over six months to go until Manitobans head to the polls, and the PCs lagging behind the NDP in public opinion, it was expected that many new investments would be made. A number of the measures shared in today’s budget were previously announced as commitments of the government. When the budget legislation passes, the government will officially have the ability to spend what has been committed to date.
ARNM has been supportive of the investments announced, including the $200 million Health Human Resource Action Plan, investments to reduce the diagnostic and surgical backlog, and commitments made to address many of the social determinants of health to date.
Investments that will improve health outcomes for Manitobans and working conditions for nurses
· $200 million investment to the Health Human Resource Action Plan;
· $1.2 billion in multi-year capital investments for rural hospitals and health infrastructure, renovations to St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Grace Hospital, CancerCare Manitoba and Health Sciences Centre;
· $55 million to implement recommendations of the Stevenson report on long-term care;
· $130 million to address the diagnostic and surgical backlog ($110 million in Budget 2022);
· $51 million+ for Manitoba’s Homelessness Strategy;
· $3.6 million for the Downtown Community Safety Partnership to build a safer, more inviting downtown Winnipeg for businesses and residents;
· Support for childcare - $76.1 million to reduce regulated parent fees for child care to $10 per day.
· $15.9 million in additional funding to advance initiatives under the senior strategy; and
· Continued funding for RAAM clinics, including and Indigenous-led clinic in Winnipeg
- $120 million to the Manitoba Pharmacare Program; extending coverage for insulin pumps to eligible adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
Addressing the Social Determinants of Health
· $9.4 million for 1,000 new treatment spaces for providers of substance-use and addictions treatment services across Manitoba;
· $1 million to support expansion of crisis stabilization unit beds and tele-psychiatry services to expand access to Manitobans living in rural and remote communities;
· $1.5 million in child and youth mental health services to improve access and reduce wait times; and
· $600,000 for flexible-length community residential withdrawal management beds in Brandon;