Province eliminates 5 senior positions in Southern Health region

The province is eliminating five positions in the Southern Health Regional Authority, including the director of acute care and the director of seniors, palliative and cancer care. 

Other positions eliminated are the vice president of corporate services, manager of Red River Valley Lodge and the manager of Altona support. 

The positions were released through a freedom of information request obtained by the NDP, which was sent to the media on Monday afternoon. 

In an email statement, Southern Health said responsibilities in the positions have shifted to three different regional lead, health services positions: acute and chief nursing officer; community and continuing care; and corporate services and chief financial officer.  

It said as a part of the service delivery realignment, some leadership positions are experiencing a change in title, others have seen their responsibilities changed and other positions have been created to focus on patient safety and clinical practice change.

“There has been no reduction in our region’s ability to support or oversee the operational responsibilities and no impact [on] the day-to-day work of frontline staff as a result of these changes,” the statement from Southern Health said. 

NDP Leader Wab Kinew said the province shouldn’t be cutting positions in a time when Manitoba’s personal care homes need the most help. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

During question period, Premier Brian Pallister was criticized by the NDP opposition for cutting health-care jobs during a pandemic, with COVID-19 cases rising in Manitoba’s personal care homes. 

“We have personal care homes that are begging for volunteers to do basics like feeding and providing water to seniors,” said Wab Kinew, NDP opposition leader, at a press briefing. 

“Why would you cut somebody who works in seniors care at the same time that you’re seeing a disaster like that unfold?” 

Pallister said the province has added hundreds of millions of additional spending for health care during the pandemic, but did not comment on the positions. 

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, calls the decision reckless and disastrous. 

“You’re actually cutting the capacity out of the system and management capacity. These are people who choose where money goes … who would be part of a strategic plan,” he said. 

“There were a whole bunch of people who actually contributed to trying to get ready for the second wave who were awarded with a pink slip,” said Lamont. 

In September, the province announced it’s cutting 50 or fewer senior health care positions considered as redundant to continue its plan of overhauling the health-care system.