The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority announced it would be shutting down Concordia Hospital’s emergency department in June as part of a massive health-care overhaul.
The province said the ER at Seven Oaks would be converted to an urgent care centre in September.
At a press conference on Monday, Friesen was asked if he could give an update on the proposed closure of the site.
“When it comes to Concordia … I am getting updates about the state of readiness of the overall system, and as I emphasized last week, while I understand there’s a good deal of interest in this, and rightly so, people want to know where they should go. I have said as well, though, as the minister of health, it is my responsibility to make sure that the system is ready to transition in this way,” he said.
Friesen said there are several factors that need to be considered before the possible closure, including the timeline for completing renovations to the St. Boniface Hospital emergency department, which is expected to see an increase because of this change.
“When I am satisfied that patient outcomes, patient experience and stability can be maintained and kept at a high level, that will be the point at which we make the transition,” he said.
Friesen apologized to reporters for being vague on the timing of the proposed closure.
“We’ll have more to say soon about the exact date, but I can tell you, for today, we continue to monitor closely to make sure that conditions are right for what will be a significant change,” he added.
There are plans to open a walk-in clinic at the hospital once the ER is closed.