Straw poll of 1,900 Manitoba health care support workers offers stark insight into experiences of front-line health care workers during COVID-19.

Manitoba health care support workers are not getting enough training, personal protective equipment (PPE), or support from the government, according to a new membership survey conducted by CUPE.

“Manitoba health care workers are telling us that they need more support from the government and the health authorities,” said Shannon McAteer, CUPE’s Health Care Coordinator.

Of the 1,877 health care support workers who responded to the survey, 58 per cent indicated they feel they have not been provided with enough personal protective equipment to keep themselves and the people they care for safe.

The response from home care workers is even starker, where 77 per cent of respondents reported a lack of PPE.

53 per cent of health care support worker respondents reported receiving insufficient COVID-19 training to keep themselves and the people they care for safe.

68 per cent of survey respondents from home care reported insufficient training.

“During a pandemic, we need every health care worker to have the training, personal protective equipment, and support they require to get the job done. If health care workers feel that they aren’t being supported, then the entire system suffers,” said McAteer. 

63 per cent of health care support workers responding feel the government is not doing enough to keep health care workers safe.

“It worries us that the confidence in government is so low among so many health care support staff,” said McAteer. “Nearly two-thirds of health care support workers who answered our survey felt the government hasn’t been doing enough to keep them safe. We hope the government takes note of this, and acts to support front-line support workers.”

This survey was a “straw poll” designed to get basic responses from Manitoba health care support workers about their experiences to-date during COVID-19. Some respondents did not complete the entire survey, and the poll captures a moment in time in an ever-evolving pandemic.

A backgrounder of the member survey and results can be found here.