Over half of Manitoba health-care workers have considered quitting: report

More health-care workers in Manitoba are dealing with burnout and thinking of quitting than elsewhere in Canada, according to a report commissioned by the provincial government.

The report, done by consulting firm Deloitte, was completed more than a year ago but was not made public until opposition politicians obtained a copy and released it to the media this week.

The report says two-thirds of health-care staff are experiencing burnout. More than half have seriously thought about looking for a new job — a number that jumps to 67 per cent when looking at nurses alone.

The report suggests these issues are driven by factors mostly out of individual employees’ control, such as their workload, shifts and management, and many of these concerns existed before the pandemic.

If this situation doesn’t change, it poses a risk to patients and the overall health-care system, the report says, adding that it’s unlikely to improve without targeted interventions.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont questioned why this report wasn’t made public, adding that it contained tangible ideas that could be implemented in a matter of months to help health-care workers.

“They’ve been pushing as hard as they can and they’re burned out because they’re being broken by a system where they don’t get support, and it’s absolutely clear,” he said.

“There needs to be an explanation about why this report was buried.”

The report recommends developing a system-wide strategy to support employees’ well-being, reviewing staff ratios and establishing plans to reduce non-essential tasks, among other things.

Cost questions

In question period, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew repeatedly asked how much the report cost. In response, Premier Heather Stefanson touted her government’s efforts to improve health care but didn’t provide a figure.

Kinew argued the PC government shouldn’t be spending money on outside consultants when they could consult with health-care providers directly, and put that money toward health care itself.

“Their only answer seems to be to spend more money on bureaucracy and consultants when to me the answer should be just to listen to those who are on the front lines,” he said.

The government did not respond to questions Monday on which measures have been implemented.

But in question period, Health Minister Audrey Gordon said she recognized there were vacancies that needed to be filled, and said health system leaders are committed to ensuring employees feel supported.

“We know more work needs to be done,” she said.