Staff shortages lead to surge in critical incidents at Manitoba hospitals: health association

Critical incidents inside hospitals across Manitoba are spiking year-over-year. Alex Karpa reports on those within the health care system blaming staffing shortages for this upward trend.

Critical incidents inside hospitals across Manitoba are spiking year-over-year, and those within the health-care system are blaming staffing shortages for this upward trend.

“The numbers are concerning, but they are certainly not surprising,” said Jason Linklater, president of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals.

A client falling from a transfer device and delays in treatment were among the 112 critical incidents, including 22 deaths, that occurred between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2023.

It represents a nearly 26 per cent increase from the 89 critical incidents between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2022.

“This upward trend we are seeing is really sort of what we would expect to happen when we don’t have adequate staffing,” Linklater told CityNews.

The association president says during the Easter weekend in the eastern part of the province, only seven of the 21 ambulances were in service due to staffing shortages.

“With the deficiency of staffing we have throughout Manitoba, the safety of patients and staff is put at risk when you don’t have enough people doing the work,” he said.

In the recent 2024 budget, the NDP government promised to hire at least 1,000 more health care staff, including committing over $300 million to recruit, retain and train more workers.

“When folks are working overtime, shift after overtime shift, what have you, that is when more mistakes are made,” said Uzoma Asagwara, Manitoba’s seniors and long-term care minister. “And I know MNU (Manitoba Nurses’ Union) has talked about that specifically, so adding staffing at the bedside and on the frontlines is going to destabilize some of those challenges we are seeing.”

Whether minor, major, or death-related, critical incidents are fully reviewed, and followed with recommendations.

“We have timelines that we have to deliver on those recommendations and implement them,” said Dr. Manon Pelletier, HSC’s chief medical officer. “Sometimes it’s an entire sitewide rollout, which can take some time, but they do occur.”

Linklater would like to see more information provided in the critical incidents reports moving forward.

“It’s an important piece for the public, it’s an important piece for transparency and something that we see that is very needed,” he said.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today