Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cut waits, walkaways

  • Print

Acting Health Minister Theresa Oswald is evidently proud of her government's attempt to improve access to health care. But it is speculation to draw a connection between the opening of quick-care clinics and the mental health crisis centre and a drop in the rate of ER visitors leaving the hospital without being seen. The impact of the health centres will be shown over time, not in a few months.

Historical patterns of ER walkaways -- measured among people who are triaged and registered and awaiting care -- show the numbers rise and fall each month. Ms. Oswald circulated the numbers for May to October, which saw the fluctuating rate go from 9.9 per cent to 7.8 per cent.

To buttress her case, Ms. Oswald pointed to the opening of two community quick-care centres and the new mental health crisis intervention centre, near the Health Sciences Centre.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says some people showing up at the new health centres say they chose the quick-care clinics over going to the ER, but anecdotes make for sketchy evidence. Patients with mental health issues can contribute to backlogs, as their needs are more complex and they can remain for extended periods in care. The crisis intervention centre is good medicine, a more humane way to help people. The quick-care clinics can alleviate a little pressure from the ER waiting rooms, which are frequently crowded with the sick and injured, non-urgent cases that wait for hours.

But non-urgent cases -- the cuts, broken bones and infections common in ERs -- are not the root cause of lengthy waits. The Progressive Conservatives on Wednesday released statistics that show the rate of people who have left the ER without being seen has risen over the last decade.

Studies show a backlogged ER is a symptom of a lack of acute-care beds on the wards. When there is a bed shortage, sometimes the result of inefficiency that keeps patients in hospital too long, ER patients requiring admission are held on gurneys until they can be moved.

An inquest into the death of Brian Sinclair, who died at the HSC ER without seeing a doctor in 2008, and into the death of Heather Brenan, who collapsed last year on her doorstep after being sent home from the Seven Oaks Hospital ER, will look into the systemic problems, including the availability of beds. Appropriate supply and use of resources will take the co-operation of various hospital programs. That is where the hard work for the WRHA lies.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 2, 2013 A10

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets defencemen ready to face adversity

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • KEN GIGLIOTTI  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / July 23 2009 - 090723 - Bart Kives story - Harry Lazarenko Annual River Bank Tour - receding water from summer rains and erosion  damage by flood  and ice  during spring flooding -  Red River , Lyndale Dr. damage to tree roots , river bank damage  , high water marks after 2009 Flood - POY
  • A pelican comes in for a landing Wednesday afternoon on the Red River at Lockport, Manitoba - Standup photo- June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google