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Hospital wait times are higher, WRHA promises improvements still to come

Despite a major facility upgrade, wait times at the Grace Hospital ER are getting longer.
Despite a major facility upgrade, wait times at the Grace Hospital ER are getting longer. File / Global News

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) is promising better days ahead a day after the province unveiled some less-than-ideal hospital wait time statistics.

Wait times in Winnipeg hospitals are up almost across the board less than a year after the WRHA showed off improvements to numbers that pushed Manitoba closer to the national average.

READ MORE: Winnipeg hospital wait times down since implementing changes: WRHA

Some of the most shocking numbers come from the recently-overhauled Grace Emergency Department.

The $44 million dollar facility saw its wait times increase over July of 2017 from one hour 38 minutes to almost two hours.

That’s an 18 per cent jump in median time over a twelve month period: also shown by a jump from June of this year to July.

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RELATED: New Manitoba ‘health care blueprint’ laid out by the province

The WRHA chalks it up to staffing challenges and some growing pains in the midst of a massive series of health care system changes.

“Phase two is a critical piece of being able to see the true benefits and improvements wait times,” Chief Health Operations Officer Krista Williams said. “It’s taken staff a bit of time to get adjusted to the new environment.”

Williams promised that the times should go back down, but couldn’t give an exact date as to when patients can start to see improvements.

The new provincial Health Minister echoed the WRHA’s statement concerning Grace’s construction.

“Manitobans are still learning how to use that new facility,” Cameron Friesen said.

READ MORE: New care clinic set to open in place of closing Concordia ER

The Grace isn’t the only hospital dealing with an increase.

Seven Oaks is seeing a one hour 29 minute average wait, compared to just over an hour last summer.

At Victoria Urgent Care, the median wait to be seen is one hour 37 minutes: 7 minutes longer than in July 2017.

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In fact, the Health Sciences Centre adult ER and the St. Boniface ER are the only improvements in wait times across Winnipeg hospitals.