September 11, 2018 1:18 pm
Updated: September 12, 2018 11:01 am

Staffing set to change as WRHA continues health overhaul

WATCH: Lori Lamont, the WRHA's Acting COO, says following on the Phase Two changes, mental health and surgical services will be reallocated this fall.

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Nurses working in mental health or surgery could be on the move as the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) continues to change the way healthcare is delivered in Manitoba.

The WRHA announced a new set of plans for phase two of their Healing our Health System program on Tuesday.

The majority of those plans revolve around nurses working in mental health at the Grace or Seven Oaks hospitals, as well as those working in surgery at Seven Oaks.

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In total, 141 nurses will be offered a chance to work in similar departments at the Health Sciences Centre, Concordia Hospital or Victoria Hospital.

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

The WRHA said the move could create 73 new positions.

The province said it is continuing its promise of providing any nurse who wants a job an opening in the region, saying it hopes to stay away from layoffs.

But not everyone is convinced.

MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky said her union still has 23 members who are sitting in layoff status from earlier health changes at the Victoria Hospital.

“The dust hasn’t settled from phase one. [We have members] that were promised their hours would be made whole again once phase 2 was implemented. We’re not seeing that promise being upheld.”

“It’s great that the nurses are going to have positions, but what happens to the rest of the staff who support patients that are there?”

Opposition leader Wab Kinew echoed the statement.

He believes the first part of the overhaul increased workload and mandatory overtime for staff.

“I’m very skeptical of claims that are being made today,” Kinew said. “These folks are being rushed into these positions. Who ultimately bears the human cost of that? It’s the patient.”

READ MORE: St. Boniface emergency department getting an upgrade

That being said, any nurse who is not interested in taking a new position could be served deletion notices.

Lori Lamont, who is the WRHA’s Acting COO, said on Tuesday that the steps — just the latest move in phase two of the program — will make operations more efficient almost across the board.

“The expertise required for the delivery of specialty services has been spread too thinly throughout our region for too long,” Lamont said. “This next wave of consolidation brings mental health resources together in concentrated areas, allowing us to bring patients with similar needs together.”

The changes will take place in December and January.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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