The Manitoba government is changing course on its plan for Winnipeg’s Concordia Hospital, saying it will convert the emergency room space into an urgent care centre — instead of shutting it down in June and converting part of the space into a walk-in clinic, as previously planned.
After a barrage of criticism from residents pleading for their ER to remain open, Health Minister Cameron Friesen announced Thursday the northeast Winnipeg hospital’s emergency room will transition into an urgent care facility in the next four to six weeks.
The planned conversion of the ER at Seven Oaks Hospital into an urgent care centre in September will continue as planned, Friesen said Thursday.
The health minister said further planned changes to the health-care system will be put on pause for six months, with responsibility for the changes shifted to the province’s Shared Heath department.
In the updated plan, Friesen leaned on the advice of Dr. David Peachey, a health-care consultant who spent the last few weeks reviewing the state of Winnipeg’s hospital reorganization plan.
The province’s overhaul of the health-care system, which began in 2017, stemmed from a report he was commissioned to write for the province in 2015.
The closure of Concordia’s ER, and the planned conversion of the emergency room at Seven Oaks Hospital into an urgent care centre this September, were part of the second phase of the province’s health-care overhaul. The plan involved consolidating emergency care in Winnipeg in three locations, down from six, in order to cut wait times and find efficiencies.
The first phase saw the closure of the emergency room at Victoria General Hospital and the urgent care centre at Misericordia Health Centre.
Last week, Peachey strongly hinted that Concordia’s ER was not ready to close. He said none of the health officials or front-line workers he interviewed felt the facility could become a walk-in clinic by June.
Friesen previously said he wouldn’t sign off on the closure of Concordia’s ER until the emergency department at St. Boniface Hospital, still under renovation, could absorb the expected influx of patients.