The Manitoba government has launched a new virtual cancer hub in Winnipeg.
The initiative, first introduced in last week’s throne speech, will support patients suspected of having cancer and ensure they are able to access treatment services as quickly as possible.
“When a person might have cancer, it’s crucial they receive the care they need as quickly as possible,” said Health Minister Sharon Blady. “Through our IN SIXTY cancer patient journey initiative, we are continuing to support the development and implementation of new initiatives to provide different ways for Manitobans to access health care services.”
The Winnipeg hub will be a virtual clinic that will provide expert advice, psychological support and navigation services to patients, and navigation support for health-care providers to ensure patients are referred quickly and appropriately.
Arlene Wilgosh, co-chair of IN SIXTY, and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, says the hub will provide guidance and services to patients as well as their family physicians or nurse practitioners who continue as the primary support for their patients through tests, treatments and appointments with specialists and other health providers.
City emergency departments will be linked to the hub to support diagnosis and treatment for patients without a family doctor. Referrals will be made by health providers in the emergency department when a patient comes in and is suspected of having cancer.
“Approximately 1,500 Manitobans are diagnosed with cancer in an emergency department every year and some of those patients may not have a family doctor,” said Dr. Sri Navaratnam, president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba.
Offices will be staffed by three full-time and one part-time nurse navigators, a psychosocial oncology clinician, two clerical support staff and a family physician with a specialty in oncology.