WINNIPEG – Massive changes are on the way for Winnipeg emergency rooms.
Global News has learned three emergency rooms in Winnipeg could soon be converted to different types of health care facilities.
Further details are to be announced at a Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) media conference Friday.
The drastic changes stem from a report ordered by the previous NDP government and co-authored by Dr. David Peachey. It called for the conversion of three community hospitals.
Peachey has been invited by the health minister to come to Winnipeg and will be at the media conference Friday to help explain how the changes could work. He does not know how many of the recommendations will be acted on or which hospitals could be impacted.
“Our understanding is that this [report] has been reviewed by both the minister and the WRHA,” Peachey said. “And that they’re going to be making more specific announcements tomorrow.”
Winnipeg currently has four community hospitals: Concordia Hospital, Grace Hospital, Victoria General Hospital and Seven Oaks General Hospital.
The announcement comes days before Brian Pallister’s provincial budget, which will be tabled April 11.
Peachey said the converted emergency rooms will no longer be “full-fledged” emergency departments. They would be converted to “urgent-care centres” that deal with rehabilitation and chronic care.
This means that if you go to a Winnipeg hospital that is no longer an emergency room, staff would send you to another location.
“It is a change, and people are uncomfortable with change, but this a change we are absolutely convinced is for the better,” Peachey said. “The goal here is to improve access quality and types of services that are available. People will get a different type of care as it will be very patient-centred and have more rapid service.”
Peachey said he doesn’t know if there will be any job losses.
He also does not know if the province will save any money with the changes.
“We did not do a costing on this,” he said. “There could be so much upfront costs but down the road there could be saving costs, whether it be prevention or different types of service.”