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WRHA Reveals First Phase of Health-Care Changes for Oct. 3

September 26, 2017 4:25 PM | News

Victoria General Hospital

Victoria General Hospital’s emergency department will close on October 3. (GOOGLE STREET VIEW)

The first phase of changes to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s system overhaul has been revealed.

Most health-care changes will begin taking shape on October 3, including the conversion of Victoria Hospital’s emergency department to an urgent care centre.

The WRHA says prior to the conversion, Victoria’s ER saw on average 88 patients per day, more than half of whom will still be appropriate for treatment at an urgent care centre.

The Misericordia Health Centre’s urgent care centre will close on the same day, which saw an average of 106 patients per day.

Changes have also been made at the St. Boniface, Grace and Health Sciences Centre emergency departments to accommodate additional patient volumes, including eight new treatment spaces at St. Boniface and improved processes in all three departments.

The WRHA is also opening clinical assessment units at St. Boniface and Grace hospitals and the expansion of the existing clinical assessment unit at HSC. These units support emergency department patients who require longer assessment and observation, thereby freeing up space and staff resources.

Other changes include:

  • redeployment of lab and diagnostic services to ensure resources are available in the right places to support patients who are currently not grouped according to the care they require.
  • opening of 65 new transitional care beds for medically stable patients who are ready to be discharged from hospital but who require time to make long-term arrangements for their care.
  • creation of 28 transitional care beds at Victoria Hospital to accommodate clients requiring enhanced supports.
  • provision of intensive home care to patients as part of a new transitional home care service. Priority Home begins November, 2017. Programming will be provided for clients for up to 90 days to support individuals at home, thereby reducing the length of time clients spend in hospital. Additional transitional care services will be offered by community hospitals once the region’s consolidation plan is fully implemented.
  • introduction of updated ambulance protocols to ensure paramedics are fully informed of the appropriate destination hospital, depending on the care required. In many instances, ambulance protocols remain the same. For example, St. Boniface Hospital will remain the destination for most cardiac patients
  • ongoing conversations with union leadership regarding plans that match patient populations with the correct staffing mix and the specialized diagnostic resources needed to treat them.

The second phase of health-care system changes will begin in spring 2018.

“This is a complex process, so a targeted roll-out permits us to plan for each step, assess the success of implementation and adjust as required,” said Lori Lamont, WRHA vice president and chief nursing and health professionals officer.

“Our goal throughout the planning process has been to minimize impact to patient care during transitions. We are pleased with the level of engagement demonstrated by our site leadership, staff, physicians, and unions as we work together to improve our capacity for excellent patient care.”

In addition to the changes slated to begin October 3, other phase I initiatives to begin implementation over the next six weeks, include:

  • the shift of mature women’s services from Victoria Hospital to Health Sciences Centre.
  • the addition of critical care beds at Grace Hospital.
  • the movement of geriatric-rehab patients from St. Boniface Hospital to Victoria Hospital.
  • the opening of a special needs behavioural unit at Deer Lodge Centre.

The overhaul was first announced in April 2017 following the publication of a report commissioned in 2015 of Dr. David Peachey, titled “Provincial Clinical and Preventive Services Planning for Manitoba, Doing Things Differently and Better.”