January 31, 2018 1:27 pm
Updated: February 1, 2018 4:47 pm

Better communication needed: WRHA report on health care change

WATCH: The WRHA released a report Wednesday - a report card on the recent changes to Manitoba's health care system. Global's Zahra Premji reports.

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The health minister released a report Wednesday evaluating the latest changes to Manitoba’s health care system.

The Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Winnipeg Regional Health Authority hosted the event at which the evaluation update ‘Phase 1, Healing our Health System’ was shared.

The report covered the 3 month span following changes that saw the emergency room at Victoria Hospital converted to an urgent care facility and the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre closed.

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

Kelvin Goertzen was joined by Lori Lamont from the WRHA.

Phase 1 of the plan to consolidate Manitoba clinical services was launched October 3, 2017.

Report findings showed most of the changes included in Phase 1 happened on time as scheduled. The report recommended better clarification of roles and improvements to internal communication, something the WRHA said it has already begun to work on.

The report states in the three months after changes were brought in, “…median wait times were 1.47 hours. This is a 19% decrease or 21-minute improvement over the same period in 2016/17”.

It also pointed to a bottleneck in the system, namely “the wait list for the new sub-acute care service” which it said, continues to grow.

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With respect to staffing, the report said 3,776 positions were deleted across sectors, including nursing, support, professional/technical and trades.

“For nurses, 2,297 positions were deleted and 3%, or 70, resulted in a lay off. All but 31 of those have secured a position within WRHA; as of early January there were 99 nursing vacancies posted” the report stated.

Goertzen said the report shows the plan is working, but there is more work to be done.

“I never forget that it has an impact on staff.  We need to do a better job when communicating… we need to ensure that they have a better understanding of changes as they come,” Goertzen said.

He said his guiding principal is to ensure appropriate conditions are met before proceeding with further changes.

“We are driven by evidence, driven by a desire to improve upon the system for the patients, for those who might be in the health care system today or in the future, have a better experience than they might have had in the past”.

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Lori Lamont from the WRHA commended staff for their conduct during the transition.

“In the time of change and disruption the fact that our staff were continuing to provide high quality care is noteworthy and we see it in these results,” Lamont said.

She said there are 31 nurses who remain in a lay-off situation, but added there are 99 positions available and are working with staff to ensure all are aware of opportunities available to them.

Lamont said the report reviewed the impact of restructuring as to increased stress or illness for staff, adding “that has not been demonstrated”.

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