Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Calls for Comprehensive Healthcare Approach Following Addition of 36 Acute Beds

January 11, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) acknowledges the recent announcement by the Manitoba government to add 36 new acute care beds at St. Boniface Hospital as part of their broader healthcare system improvement plan. While the move to enhance healthcare capacity is welcomed, the AMC emphasizes the need for a comprehensive and culturally sensitive approach to address the unique healthcare challenges faced by First Nations citizens in Manitoba.

AMC urges the Manitoba government to prioritize First Nations health and wellness. In remote and isolated locations, First Nations citizens encounter challenges accessing acute care, resulting in adverse health impacts and northern First Nations needing to declare states of emergency over chronic under staffing and under funding. AMC advocates for targeted solutions, including telehealth, telemedicine, patient escort services, community health worker training, culturally safe healthcare environments, Health Centre upgrades, and emergency response systems tailored to First Nations’ needs.

“The equitable distribution of new beds is paramount,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “The Province needs to ensure better healthcare access across all regions of Manitoba, which includes rural and northern areas. Higher quality healthcare should be accessible to all Manitobans, regardless of their geographic location.”

In addition to acute care beds, AMC calls for increased investments in mental health and addiction services, detox centers, and expanded coverage under the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program for First Nations. This comprehensive approach involves increased funding, culturally appropriate treatment facilities, and a focus on prevention and education.

There is also the critical need for a staffing strategy that incorporates First Nations professionals, the AMC encourages collaborative efforts with First Nations workers, organizations, and unions to address shortages and enrich cultural competency in healthcare.

While appreciating the government’s commitment to healthcare improvements, AMC reminds the province of the importance of an inclusive approach that addresses the diverse needs of all Manitobans, with a specific focus on First Nations Health and equitable access to care. AMC looks forward to ongoing collaboration to ensure the success of these initiatives within a framework of Truth and Reconciliation.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 171,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.