Fewer emergency rooms on the way for Winnipeg

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Fewer emergency rooms on the way for Winnipeg
WATCH: Emergency rooms where wait times continue to balloon in Canada, with Manitoba's being the worst in the country. But instead of opening new facilities, some are being closed. Mike Le Couteur explains why. – Apr 9, 2017

WINNIPEG — Massive changes are on the way for Winnipeg emergency rooms.

Global News has learned three emergency rooms in Winnipeg could soon be converted to different types of health care facilities.

Further details are to be announced at a Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) media conference Friday.

The drastic changes stem from a report ordered by the previous NDP government and co-authored by Dr. David Peachey. It called for the conversion of three community hospitals.

RELATED: Winnipeg continues to have Canada’s worst ER wait times

Peachey has been invited by the health minister to come to Winnipeg and will be at the media conference Friday to help explain how the changes could work.   He does not know how many of the recommendations will be acted on or which hospitals could be impacted.

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“Our understanding is that this [the report] has been reviewed by both the minister and the WRHA,” Peachey said. “And that they’re going to be making more specific announcements tomorrow [Friday].”

Winnipeg currently has four community hospitals: Concordia Hospital, Grace Hospital, Victoria General Hospital and Seven Oaks General Hospital.

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The announcement comes days before Brian Pallister’s provincial budget, which will be tabled April 11.

READ MORE: ‘Manitoba is staring down a $1 billion deficit’: Finance Minister

Peachey said the changes could mean converted emergency rooms would no longer be “full-fledged” emergency departments. They would be converted to “urgent-care centres” that deal with rehabilitation and chronic care, he said.

This means, if you go to a Winnipeg hospital that is no longer an emergency room, then staff would send you to another location.

“It is a change…and people are uncomfortable with change. But this a change we are absolutely convinced is for the better,” Peachey said.

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Peachey said he is unaware if there will be any job losses.

He also does not know if the province will save any money with the changes.

RELATED: Manitoba prepared to stand alone in health care fight with Ottawa

“We did not do a costing on this on this,” he said. “There could be so much upfront costs but down the road there could be saving costs, whether is be prevention or a different types of service.”

Emergency room wait times

There are currently seven hospitals in Winnipeg.

  • Concordia Hospital
  • Grace Hospital
  • Victoria General Hospital
  • Seven Oaks General Hospital
  • St. Boniface Hospital
  • Health Sciences Centre
  • The Children’s Hospital

Concordia Hospital had the longest wait time in the country in 2016, according to numbers released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

The release stated three Winnipeg hospitals were the worst in the country when it comes to emergency department wait times.

Concordia Hospital had the longest wait time in the country at 6.8 hours. Victoria General Hospital has a wait time of 6.7 hours and St. Boniface General Hospital has a wait time of 6.5 hours – compared with a national average of 3.1 hours.

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WATCH: Winnipeg continues to have Canada’s worst ER wait times

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg continues to have Canada’s worst ER wait times'
Winnipeg continues to have Canada’s worst ER wait times

Peachey believes people should not be concerned about the emergency room changes.

“The goal here is to improve access quality and types of services that are available,” he said. “People will get a different type of care as it will be very patient-centred and have more rapid service.”

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