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Seven Oaks ER closure to happen this summer instead of September, says WRHA

A community-led group protested against the closure of the Seven Oaks emergency room on Wednesday afternoon.
A community-led group protested against the closure of the Seven Oaks emergency room on Wednesday afternoon. Alison MacKinnon / Global News

The ER at Seven Oaks Hospital will be converted to an Urgent Care centre sooner than anticipated.

A memo sent to health care staff by Winnipeg Regional Health Authority President Réal Cloutier says the conversion will happen this summer.

“The factors currently under consideration include demand and capacity at Seven Oaks and across the system, workforce considerations including the realities of physician and staff coverage, and operational processes. Other planned changes at Seven Oaks are still recommended to occur in September as planned,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘We won’t go back’: Manitoba to proceed with Seven Oaks Hospital transition

There is no confirmed conversion date, he added.

A spokesperson for the WRHA confirmed the memo’s contents and said the health authority has been performing “hospital and system readiness assessments.”

“Consistent with the recommendations stemming from Dr. Peachey’s Quality Assurance Review, physician, clinical, regional and hospital leadership have been working together to conduct a very thorough and informed process of system-wide risk assessment and planning.”

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The spokesperson said the health authority has been having “candid conversations” about issues at the “hospital and system level.”

READ MORE: Low morale, fear of layoffs for Seven Oaks hospital staff, say unions

In June, Concordia Hospital’s ER was replaced with an Urgent Care Centre, despite push back from the Manitoba Nurses Union.

At that time, a report authored by the same Dr. David Peachey on Manitoba’s health care system said overall confidence and morale is declining among Winnipeg nurses and recommended the Seven Oaks transition continue, but other phases should be paused.

MNU President Darlene Jackson believes moving the transition date will leave their workers in limbo.

“It’s a little unsettling for nurses when you have a date and you think you know that your life is planed,” She said. “And now things are changing and you’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen.”

There has been considerable opposition to the transition at Seven Oaks, with a petition signed by 7,500 people presented to politicians earlier this week, along with rallies by local residents.