‘We’re very concerned’: Health care workers in Manitoba shocked with changes to health care system

WINNIPEG — Health care workers in Manitoba are expressing shock and concern following Friday’s announcement that changes are coming in several different ways to the health care system in Winnipeg.

Three of Winnipeg’s six emergency rooms are closing down and hospitals are restructuring their services. Some emergency rooms in Winnipeg hospitals will be converted to urgent care facilities.

READ MORE:‘Doing nothing was not an option’: 3 Winnipeg emergency rooms closing down

Shannon McAteer is the Health Care Coordinator with CUPE and she said these changes simply don’t make sense.

“It was just boom. [It was] done with the stroke of a pen. It’s concerning that they’re not consulting more readily with the community and with the unions that provide the service,” McAteer said.

She said Manitobans expect to have access to emergency room services in their communities, and the three closures will create headaches for people across Winnipeg.

“We’re concerned not only for our members, but for patient care. We just can’t see how this is a good idea,” McAteer said.

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Debbie Boissonneault is with CUPE and a Health Care Aid Support Worker as well.

She said members are extremely worried about what the future of health care in Winnipeg will look like following the announcements made on Friday.

“The members are very worried, they’re very concerned about what their job security is,” Boissonneault said.

The province said the changes are a way to ease traffic at emergency departments. However, health care workers said it’s just a way to create more confusion in a system where every second truly matters.

“Brian [Pallister], I’m one of the faces of the 9,000 I represent. I want you to know we’re not going to stand here and just take it. We are going to fight back,” Boissonneault said.

She isn’t alone in her desire to fight back against this face lift to Winnipeg’s health care system.

A petition and Facebook page have already been created to save the Concordia ER. The emergency room is set to be entirely re purposed to focus on rehabilitation services and elderly care.

Both Boissonneault and McAteer said there are far more questions than answers when it comes to the looming changes. Both fearful that no concrete cost saving statistics have been shared that prove these changes will be an improvement.

” I haven’t seen anything to support that this is going to provide a cost saving or make health care better,” McAteer said.

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