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This article was published 8/4/2017 (1328 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Concordia Hospital in northeast Winnipeg has been "shafted" in province's emergency room shuffle, says NDP health critic Matt Wiebe.

Concordia was the only hospital to lose all of its emergency room services, in the Pallister government's overhaul of hospital emergency departments.

Two other hospitals, Victoria and Seven Oaks, will have their emergency rooms scaled back to urgent care centres. That will still leave them handling 85 per cent of the cases that comprised their traffic.

However, Concordia will lose both the emergency and less severe cases that urgent care centres handle. Its emergency room underwent a major upgrade in 2008-09, Wiebe said.

The moves are being made to find efficiencies and reduce wait times.

"It's a huge blow. People are feeling shafted," said Wiebe, who is also the MLA for the Concordia riding.

Concordia Hospital is surrounded by seniors housing and personal care homes, some of which are physically connected to the hospital.

"It's interesting that the people closest to the hospital will be impacted the most," Wiebe said.

"A lot of patients who could just be wheeled down to the hospital emergency room will now have to make a phone call, wait, and take an ambulance to St. Boniface Hospital."

It can cost $500 for an ambulance, he said. "That's the downloading of a cost right onto people who can afford it the least."

Concordia Hospital was aware changes were coming but didn't know the extent, said hospital chairman Michael Woelcke.

The hospital hasn't yet been given the reasons for losing its entire emergency services, Woelcke said. It hopes to find out Monday morning when executives will meet with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

"I think it's very early to jump to conclusions. We have to wait and see what this means," Woelcke said.

The government's blueprint has Concordia expanding rehab services and performing more transitional care for the elderly.

Misericordia Health Centre also took a major hit, and will see its urgent care centre converted to a community intravenous therapy clinic, Wiebe said.

A heart attack, stroke, major trauma or severe head injury are the type of injuries that emergency rooms will deal with. Flu-like symptoms, minor burns, headaches, sprains or fractures, and nosebleeds will be handled by urgent care centres.

Wiebe said the reaction from constituents to news that Concordia was losing its emergency room was instantaneous. "As soon as news broke, right away we had the phones light up," he said.

Northeast Winnipeg also lost its nearest quick care clinic in St. Boniface, and the fate of the proposed 120-bed care home in Transcona by Park Manor Personal Care is threatened, he said.

 

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca