Health minister stumped by even basic questions

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Successfully being Minister Audrey Gordon appears to be in over her head.

It’s not solely that her division seems to be grossly mismanaged right now, she has drawback fielding even primarily most likely probably the most fundamental questions on her portfolio. On Wednesday, when journalists had an extended pointers of queries, together with about hospital performance and pandemic restrictions, the minister may barely reply them.

Earlier that day, deputy chief provincial public successfully being officer Dr. Jazz Atwal launched that as of March 15, Manitobans would now not should self-isolate after testing constructive for COVID-19 (the an similar day the masks mandate is lifted). It was a extreme announcement. Atwal, whose workplace falls inside Gordon’s portfolio, unveiled the change in a Zoom data convention the place journalists have restricted potential to ask follow-up questions and hold authorities officers accountable. Apparently it’s protected ample to remove vaccine mandates and raise performance limits, however it certainly actually’s not protected ample for senior public successfully being officers to carry in-person data conferences.


<p>MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Health Minister Audrey Gordon made herself available in person to answer those and other questions, but only for about seven minutes

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS FILES

Successfully being Minister Audrey Gordon made herself accessible particularly individual to reply these and completely totally different questions, however just for about seven minutes

Gordon made herself accessible particularly individual to reply these and completely totally different questions, however just for about seven minutes prior to her assistant, Draper Houston, whisked her away. Which might have had one issue to do with how she struggled in entrance of the microphone.

Gordon’s choices had been clumsy and inarticulate. When requested why her authorities’s surgical course of wait time course of drive hadn’t offered an substitute since January (in December, Gordon promised month-to-month updates), she acknowledged it’s on account of they needed to confirm they’d been offering Manitobans with “substantial” information and didn’t need to present the general public false hope.

If the federal authorities is making progress on reducing the surgical backlog, why would there be false hope? Is it on account of there was no substantial progress to report final month?

No, Gordon acknowledged, the accountability drive makes progress on on daily basis basis. Nonetheless, she couldn’t say what that progress was. Up to now, the accountability drive has nevertheless to launch any targets or dates on when backlogs will most likely be eradicated.

If the federal authorities is making progress on reducing the surgical backlog, why would there be false hope? Is it on account of there was no substantial progress to report final month?

The minister acknowledged the province stays to be finalizing “agreements” associated to reducing wait lists.

“Whether or not or not or not we’re in a position to report the finalization of agreements is about by whether or not or not or not the ink has dried on these agreements,” she acknowledged.

When will that ink be dry? Gordon wouldn’t say.

She furthermore wouldn’t say, or didn’t know, whether or not or not or not surgical backlogs and wait occasions for varied hospital procedures very similar to diagnostic testing are nonetheless rising. As a replacement, she acknowledged she’s desirous to announce the awarding of a contract for a mannequin new centralized wait pointers administration system. That system will permit the federal authorities to guage the “true” backlog, she acknowledged.

Nonetheless, she didn’t know whether or not or not or not the backlog was rising, had stabilized or was shrinking.


<p>MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>When asked whether she expects an increase in COVID-19 cases once the province’s mask mandate is lifted March 15, and self-isolation is no longer required for people infected with the disease, Gordon didn’t answer.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS FILES

When requested whether or not or not or not she expects a rise in COVID-19 instances as shortly as a result of the province’s masks mandate is lifted March 15, and self-isolation is now not required for individuals contaminated with the illness, Gordon didn’t reply.

“That information I’m going to share with you at our subsequent substitute,” she acknowledged.

On the time, Gordon couldn’t say when that substitute could very nicely be. It wasn’t till late Thursday that she launched an substitute is scheduled for Friday.

Throughout the meantime, when requested whether or not or not or not she expects a rise in COVID-19 instances as shortly as a result of the province’s masks mandate is lifted March 15, and self-isolation is now not required for individuals contaminated with the illness, Gordon didn’t reply. As a replacement, she outlined — in a weird response — how constructive ideas fill her day.

“I usually tend to have a really constructive outlook,” she acknowledged. “I stand up on on daily basis basis which implies and I stroll by way of the day which implies, and so I’m going to proceed with that optimism, not only for myself however for all Manitobans.”

That’s implausible, however the query was farther from a scientific perspective: what do public successfully being officers anticipate when the measures are lifted?

That’s the plan, to let individuals get sick ample that they require intensive care treatment?

“We’re planning for a slight uptick in instances,” she acknowledged when requested as quickly as additional, however lamented that “we don’t have that modelling nevertheless from the federal authorities or provincially.”

So the federal authorities is making public successfully being choices with out modelling.

And what’s the plan should instances rise after March 15?

“Accurately, we’re our potential to extend our ICU beds on account of, as you understand, that many people over the earlier two years have turned up in our ICUs so we’re planning… an orderly course of to extend our variety of ICU beds if we have now now to,” acknowledged Gordon.

That’s it? That’s the plan, to let individuals get sick ample that they require intensive care treatment?

What a put collectively wreck.

tom.brodbeck@freepress.mb.ca

Tom Brodbeck

Tom Brodbeck
Columnist

Tom has been defending Manitoba politics provided that early Nineties and joined the Winnipeg Free Press data workers in 2019.

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