July 14, 2020

14° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Close this


Advertise With Us

Hundreds protest ER closure at Concordia

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Concordia Hospital workers, concerned citizens and CUPE members rally in front of Concordia Hospital Tuesday.</p>


Concordia Hospital workers, concerned citizens and CUPE members rally in front of Concordia Hospital Tuesday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/4/2017 (1189 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

More than 200 protesters gathered outside Concordia Hospital Tuesday for the first of what health-care workers promise will be many demonstrations in opposition to drastic health-care changes across Winnipeg that include closing three emergency departments.

The crowd was made up of hospital workers, community members and local politicians. The mood toggled between concern and anger.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Concordia Hospital health-care worker Kim Pohl isn't happy about the closure of the hospital's ER ward.</p>


Concordia Hospital health-care worker Kim Pohl isn't happy about the closure of the hospital's ER ward.

"We’re going to fight back every step of the way," Canadian Union of Public Employees Manitoba president Kelly Moist promised.

On Friday, the province and Winnipeg Regional Health Authority announced sweeping changes that will be rolled out over the next two years, including the consolidation of emergency care and general surgery to Health Sciences Centre, St. Boniface General Hospital and Grace Hospital. ERs at Victoria and Seven Oaks hospitals will transition to urgent-care centres for patients requiring serious, but non-life-threatening care. Concordia’s ER will be closed.

Protesters chanted slogans targeting Premier Brian Pallister a couple of hours before the provincial government tabled its 2017-18 budget. The demonstration was timed so hospital workers could attend on their lunch break.

"Code blue in health care," read one sign, a nod to the hospital code for a patient in cardiac arrest. "Some cuts don’t heal," warned another.

"It’s sending a signal that the entire northeast part of the city, including some of our southern neighbourhoods, that we don’t matter," said Kim Pohl, a longtime health worker at Concordia.

"I could have a stroke or a heart attack at the Dollarama just across the street, but I’ll have to go to St. Boniface which, in high traffic, might be 40 minutes... 40 minutes too late."

Hospital X-ray tech Garett Hoare said he doesn't understand why Concordia isn't going to have the same sort of role in Valley Gardens as Seven Oaks and Victoria will have in their areas of the city.

"There’s nothing east of the river," he said. "I understand why they want to streamline critical services… but we don’t understand why we don’t (at least) have urgent care."

Concordia MLA Matt Wiebe, the NDP health critic, said the province is doing the opposite of what's required.

"There needs to be an investment in this emergency room and other front-line services, not a removal of service from communities," he said. "This feels personal right now."

The Progressive Conservatives have begun to chop other programs introduced by the previous NDP government and there are fears of more to come, he said.

"This is just one of the latest in a number of hits that we’ve taken in this community," he said, referring to QuickCare clinics (the province closed one of the city's six in January), an inadequate number of personal-care home beds and cancelling the Hospital Home Team program that kept some geriatric patients out of the hospital.

Union representatives said details of the changes are in short supply.

"We don’t have any more concrete information as to timing or anything, or what numbers will look like," said Sandi Mowat, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union.

Mowat said she’s heard that changes at Victoria and Concordia are in the initial phase of the overhaul, but even that doesn’t help establish a timeline.

"We don’t know what that means," she said, adding the union has received a commitment from the WRHA to keep it "in the loop."

The MNU plans to hold a rally outside the legislature on April 26.



Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.


Updated on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 2:13 PM CDT: Correct reference to 'code blue'

5:11 PM: Full write through

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

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

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

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

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us