One of the main issues of concerns I hear from people in our region is healthcare. 

This week, I attended the annual general meeting of the Northern Manitoba Regional Health Authority in Flin Flon to follow up on the health concerns of our region.  

We are very fortunate to have so many dedicated healthcare professionals in our region. But they face, and we as patients face, many challenges. 

Whether you live in our urban centres or remote communities, it is clear that people in our region face challenges in accessing healthcare that many other Canadians do not.

Partly, it is from the fact that many medical services are not available in our communities. This means that people have to travel significant distances either within the region or outside of the region to access medical devices. 

The travel itself can be a major problem. Whether from people who are under provincial jurisdiction or federal jurisdiction, I’ve heard from many people who have been unable to get the travel support, including the escort they need.

I recently spoke out about the tragic case of Abraham Donkey from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, a heart patient who died on a bus going to a medical appointment. He had been unable to be sent by plane or even to have an escort.

After meeting with the family, I raised the issue in the House of Commons directly with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I asked him to follow up with an investigation to ensure this never happens again. 

The longer-term solution is of course to have more medical services available in our region. This is something I have made as a top priority. There are signs of some progress, particularly with the announcement of the new hospital in Norway House, but we have a long way to go.

The other key is preventative health. So many of the health problems people face in our region can be prevented. We are fortunate to have some excellent advocacy from healthcare professionals and community residents in our region. What they need is the support from all level of governments recognizing this is crucial to our future.

Things are different in our region. That will continue to be my clear message as I fight for improved health care for people in our North.