Looking out for seniors in new portfolio

By Hon. Scott Johnston 

Hon.Scott Johnson is the inaugural Minister of Seniors and Longterm Care.

As the inaugural Minister of Seniors and Long-term Care, I am honoured to be selected to lead the department recently created by Premier Heather Stefanson dedicated to advocating for seniors’ issues and strengthening the province’s long-term care system. I was proud to reaffirm our government’s commitment to building a healthier, stronger and more prosperous Manitoba with the Premier at the Legislative Building on April 6 and again as a part of Budget 2022 — committing nearly $20 million to develop a new senior’s strategy.

Manitoba seniors want, expect and deserve a government that acts with integrity and compassion and responds effectively to their needs. As part of our government’s pledge to realign our health-care system to meet the current and future needs of Manitobans, our recent announcement committed an initial investment of $15 million toward the full implementation of all 17 recommendations in the Stevenson Review.

Our government commissioned this independent external report, led by Dr. Lynn Stevenson, to review the Oct. 20, 2020 to Jan. 12, 2021 COVID-19 outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home and then provide recommendations for preventing future tragedies.

The Final Report of The Provincial Implementation Plan for the Stevenson Review details the implemented and planned changes that will address the review’s 17 recommendations. The review’s recommendations were grouped into four main themes: resident safety; staffing complements; pandemic preparedness; and communication with families and staff.

The Stevenson Report is our government’s blueprint for the future of long-term care in Manitoba, as we work toward an integrated system of care where residents, and their families, can have confidence that their needs are appropriately addressed. 

The $15 million investment will allow service delivery organizations to implement targeted initiatives that improve the safety and quality of care received by personal care home residents. The priority initiatives include: enhancing infection prevention and control measures; expanding information and communication technology; increasing the number of allied health and housekeeping staff; and improving emergency continuity and situational awareness.

Our government is committed to continued progress and sustained action as we better integrate personal care homes within the broader health-care system. 

The Stevenson Implementation Oversight Steering Team, comprised of health system leaders, was established to oversee, support and ensure the full implementation of the final report and the recommendations of its 13 working groups.

Our government commends the hard work and dedication of seniors and recognizes their pivotal role in our province’s strength and prosperity. We are committed to building a stronger foundation for improved seniors care in Manitoba.

This commitment led to the formation of the Department of Seniors and Long-term Care in January 2022, with a focused mandate to implement all of the recommendations in the Stevenson Review. I am proud to be the first minister for this department, and I look forward to representing Manitoba’s seniors and advocating for seniors’ issues.

Hon. Scott Johnston is the MLA for Assiniboia and the Minister of Seniors and Long-term Care.