Province announces new organizational structure to Manitoba health services

Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced a new health organization in Manitoba Wednesday afternoon. File / Global News

WINNIPEG — A new provincial health organization that will be launched in 2018 was announced Wednesday afternoon.

Manitoba Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the new organization, Shared Health Services Manitoba, will “repurpose the existing organization” of Diagnostic Services Manitoba. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority will be “scaled back”.

“The regional health authorities will continue, but they’ll continue how they were originally intended to,” Goertzen said.

The Shared Health Services Manitoba will be led by Dr Brock Wright, the current Senior VP, Clinical Services and Chief Medical Officer of the WRHA. He will oversee the transformation.

“What we’re going to have that we haven’t had before is leadership provincially in these major specialty areas. Those leaders will then pull together a team from across the province, from within their specialty,” Dr. Brock Wright said.

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“That team will look at what is the most cost effective way to deliver high quality patient care services in their particular specialty within Manitoba.”

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Wright said the new organization will work “in partnership with the regional health authorities” The regional health authorities (RHAs) will continue to be responsible for their regions.

“This new provincial organization will work in partnership with the RHAs, it will be the RHAs staff, it will be the RHAs specialists that we’re pulling together to figure out what is the best plan to deliver health services, what are the most appropriate standards of care,” Wright said.

Geortzen said no additional costs will be added to the system and believes they can find efficiencies.

“Our problem is that our health services across the province are not aligned, we’re not rowing in the same direction,” Goertzen said.

The Health Sciences Centre will “reside under the new organization”. It will no longer be a part of the WRHA organizationally.

“We believe that makes a lot of sense,” Wright said. “It really is Manitoba’s hospital. It provides services not just to Winnipeggers, but patients right across the province.”

The new organization will be launched on April 1, 2018.

During the announcement, Goertzen referenced “finding efficiencies” multiple times but did not offer any numbers on affected job losses or cuts.

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

The announcement will be made at the University of Manitoba Bannatyne Campus at 2:30 p.m. It will be live streamed on this page.

This comes less than a week after the WRHA announced the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre’s overnight hours would be cut as of July 5.

READ MORE: Misericordia Urgent Care Centre overnight hours cut by July 5

These changes are part of a provincial mandate to reduce the WRHA’s spending by three per cent, or $83 million. The WRHA was also instructed to cut 15 per cent of their management positions.

READ MORE: More than 100 WRHA manager positions eliminated as part of provincial mandate

Three of Winnipeg’s six emergency rooms are also closing, which the government says will help improve patient care and reduce hospital wait times. Concordia Hospital, Victoria General Hospital and Seven Oaks General Hospital will no longer have emergency departments.

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