October 26, 2017 2:29 pm
Updated: October 27, 2017 8:24 am

Manitoba health care changes improving system: WRHA

Are there improvements to healthcare since changes were implemented earlier this month? The Province says yes, the Union isn't sure. Global's Timm Bruch reports.

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The Province of Manitoba said they’re already seeing improvements to healthcare after only two and a half weeks of their newly-implemented system.

In a news conference Thursday, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen and WRHA Vice President Lori Lamont said that wait times are already decreasing and patient satisfaction is up since the changes took effect Oct. 3.

The restructuring saw the Emergency Department at the Victoria General Hospital converted to an urgent care center, and the urgent care centre at Misericordia health centre closed.

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READ MORE: ER at Winnipeg’s Victoria Hospital officially converted to Urgent Care

The province said the changes were implemented to improve patient flow and that the small sample size shows it is already happening.

“Wait times at Victoria General Hospital’s urgent care have been nearly half as long as they were last year in their emergency department,” Lamont said.

According to a release, wait times since Oct. 3 have decreased 13 per cent from September 2017 and 28 per cent over the same time last year.

RELATED: No health care premium coming to Manitoba: Premier

But not everyone is convinced the changes are really helping.

Both the Manitoba Nurses Union and the MGEU said workers are struggling with higher patient volumes and ongoing uncertainty about their jobs.

“I think there’s a lot of confusion,” Manitoba Nurses Union president Sandi Mowat said. “Certainly there’s a lot to the system and one of the things we’ve been saying all along is we need to slow down.”

“I think it’s awfully early to be patting yourself on the back. Three weeks into the process I think is a little bit early to be talking about stats.”

But regardless of the new numbers, or of what they mean 23 days into the new system, the province is adamant they are working. Planning has already begun on phase two of the health care overhaul, which is slated to next spring.

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