Health Minister Cameron Friesen says he's not yet ready to announce the exact date of the closure of Concordia Hospital's emergency department.

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Health Minister Cameron Friesen says he's not yet ready to announce the exact date of the closure of Concordia Hospital's emergency department.

The government has said in the past that — as part of its reorganization of the city's hospitals — Concordia's ER would shut down in June while the ER at Seven Oaks would be converted to an urgent care centre in September.

Friesen said Monday he's receiving regular updates about the "readiness of the overall system" to accommodate the changes.

He said several factors are at play regarding the timing of the Concordia ER closure, including the timetable for completing renovations to the St. Boniface Hospital emergency department, which is expected to face additional demand as a result of the change.

The renovations at St. B are scheduled to be completed in June, as planned, officials say. The renovations include new triage and waiting areas and a "mid-acuity" treatment space.

Friesen apologized for "being a little vague" on the timing of the Concordia closure.

"We'll have more to say soon about the exact date. But I can tell you for today we continue to monitor closely to make sure that conditions are right for what will be a significant change..." he said.

Among those conditions is ensuring that proper staffing is in place to accommodate the move. As well, a communications strategy must be implemented to inform the public, he said.

"When I am satisfied that patient outcomes, patient experience and stability can be maintained and kept at a high level, that will be the point at which we make the transition," he said.

Plans are also being made to open a walk-in clinic with extended hours at Concordia Hospital once its emergency department closes.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca