Manitoba adding patient beds to hospitals, including Winnipeg’s Grace Hospital

Almost two weeks after a woman died in Grace's emergency department hallway, Manitoba announced 31 new patient beds to be added there. Jae C. Hong / AP File Photo

Almost two weeks after a woman died in Grace Hospital’s emergency department hallway, Manitoba announced 31 new patient beds to be added there.

Today, minister of health, seniors and long-term care, Uzoma Asagwara, said 21 of the beds will be added to the medicine and surgery wards by the end of March — including five previously announced. The other 10 will be added in the next fiscal year, which begins April 1.

Asagwara said the beds will help address dangerously long wait times. “Wait times so long that people leave regularly without being seen. Wait times so long that it’s driving health-care workers out of emergency departments. Wait times so long that we’ve seen tragic outcomes for patients and their families.”

“I am privileged to hear this news,” said Dr. Ramin Hamedani, chief medical officer at the Grace. “I can’t contain it. This is important news for our site, and for our campus. It will have a tremendous impact on our access, our flow for the patients, and ultimately for the care we provide to our patients here.”

Story continues below advertisement

Winnipeg’s Grace Hospital — while under the public eye for the death of a patient who had been waiting for a bed for 33 hours, after being triaged and assessed — is not the only one dealing with a short list of beds and long list of patients.

The latest health and medical news emailed to you every Sunday.

“It’s been a challenging time for the entire system,” Hamedani said.

The minister added, “Many of our hospitals lack the beds to admit patients and to treat them, and to have a smooth flow of patients through our emergency departments. This is leading to overcrowding in emergency rooms, this is leading to long waits to see physicians, and it’s led to negative outcomes for Manitobans more than a few times.”

As such, other facilities will also have their roster of beds filled out, Asagwara said, but did not disclose where or how many.

The deputy premier reminded Manitobans that the province’s problematic health care takes root in a systemic story weaved over many years.

“Our hospitals don’t have the staff, they don’t have the beds, and they don’t have the capacity to meet the current or future demands of health care in Manitoba,” Asagwara said. “We didn’t get here overnight.”

Though adding beds is not the final solution, the minister said it’s a start to generating a smooth flow of patients through emergency departments.

Story continues below advertisement

“These beds will only work when we are committed to improving the flow of patients through the emergency department. These beds will only work if we remain committed to recruiting, to training, and most importantly, to retaining our health care human resources.”

Hamedani agreed and said, “This announcement (is) an important first step for achieving what we need to do, which is providing excellent care to our patients and clients throughout the while province of Manitoba.”

Asagwara said the NDP will be meeting with Grace’s front-line staff in early December, and further details will be shared in the coming weeks.

Click to play video: 'Patient death in Grace Hospital under investigation by Winnipeg Regional Health Authority'
Patient death in Grace Hospital under investigation by Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

Sponsored content