Forensic nursing shifts to be staffed: health minister
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Manitoba Health Minister Audrey Gordon says she has instructed the Health Sciences Centre to ensure a specially trained nurse is available to see victims of sexual assault in need of an exam.
The direction comes after a growing number seeking help at Manitoba’s largest hospital were sent home without a forensic exam in February.
A shortage of forensic nurse examiners has led to victims being sent home with instructions not to shower or wipe themselves after using the washroom to preserve evidence until they can see a nurse, according to the Manitoba Nurses Union. Others are being told to wait hours in the downtown Winnipeg facility’s emergency department until a nurse arrives.
In February, seven people were given instructions to wait in the emergency department or head home, according to preliminary numbers from Shared Health, which is responsible for HSC.
“My direction to the Shared Health and the (HSC) manager is that there will be someone on staff schedule so that we have someone available,” Gordon said Thursday. “People get sick and can’t make it in for shifts but that we have a back up plan.”
Gordon noted six nursing positions have been filled under a $640,000 expansion of the sexual assault nurse examiner program. However, it will take about six months for them to work independently in their new positions.
Circuit court back on course: justice minister
Manitoba’s circuit court system appears to be on the other side of a turbulent spell.
Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said in the past two weeks, court proceedings in 22 remote Manitoba communities have not been cancelled owing to flight disruptions for circuit court staff departing from urban centres, including Winnipeg.
“There have been special measures taken over the last little while to ensure that this problem is rectified in the short term and a longer-term solution is brought forward,” Goertzen said Thursday in question period.
Repeated cancellations and flight disruptions over the past several months had pushed the circuit court system into crisis, as proceedings were cancelled or delayed, provincial court Chief Judge Margaret Wiebe told the Free Press in early February.
“We recognize that the delivery of justice in every part of Manitoba is important,” Goertzen said.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.