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This article was published 15/5/2019 (375 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
After months of protests and sustained pressure in the legislature, the Pallister government is expected to write a new prescription for Concordia Hospital.
Sources tell the Free Press the Tories will end the speculation with a media notice Thursday morning. While the premier is scheduled to attend an announcement involving kidney transplants at the Health Sciences Centre, the new treatment plan for Concordia will be made public after question period.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen said Wednesday his promise to report back to Manitobans on the results of a "quality assurance assessment" of his government’s hospital reorganization plan is on schedule.
"I committed that within two weeks, I would have an update to Manitobans. I’m on track," he said.
The Progressive Conservatives have faced a barrage of criticism over their plans to close Concordia’s emergency room at the end of June. The Winnipeg hospital reform plan also involves converting Seven Oaks General Hospital’s ER to an urgent care centre in September.
Dr. David Peachey, whose report four years ago provided the blueprint for the hospital restructuring, was called in several weeks ago to take the temperature of the second phase of the plan.
It was a sign to many the government had grown concerned about the impact of the pace of its reforms — if not the plan itself — especially with Premier Brian Pallister hinting strongly a general election is imminent.
There have been questions for months about whether St. Boniface Hospital’s ER would be able to absorb the extra patients that would come its way once Concordia’s emergency room closed.
Orthopedic surgeons at Concordia are said to have threatened to stop performing hip and knee replacements without assurances of proper medical backup in the wake of the loss of the hospital’s ER.
A walk-in clinic at the hospital, promised to the community in the event of the ER closure, is nowhere near to being a done deal.
Meanwhile, nurses at the hospital — and at other institutions — report they’ve had to work increasing amounts of overtime.
All the signs point to the provincial government either announcing an extended pause in its plans to close Concordia’s ER or change course — which would have a ripple effect throughout the city’s hospital system.
Even if the government were to reverse course and keep the ER open indefinitely, it won’t be smooth sailing.
Health workers were long ago given notice of the decision to close the ER at the end of next month, and many have made other work arrangements. Adequate staffing would likely be an issue at Concordia for months to come.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Updated on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 10:18 PM CDT: Updates story