The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is developing a plan to ensure people have access to ophthalmology services at Misericordia after it’s urgent care centre closes this fall.
WRHA chief medical officer Dr. Brock Wright says discussions are ongoing about “creating more walk-in capacity” at the hospital. The WRHA is waiting until a solution is reached to announce it, he says, at which point, “we’ll communicate that separately because we don’t want any confusion around the closure.”
Earlier this month, the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (EPSOM) sent a letter to Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen and WRHA CEO Milton Sussman announcing they oppose the planned closure.
“Opthalmology’s decades-old collaboration with Misericordia Urgent Care has saved the sight of countless patients,” EPSOM wrote, noting in the letter the clinic handles 4,500 eye emergencies per year.
Under the province’s planned health-care reognization in Winnipeg, Misericordia's urgent care clinic is slated to become a community intravenous-care clinic in October. While 4,500 people go to Misericordia's urgent care with eye issues, Wright said, nearly 3,000 go to other emergency departments throughout the city.
“Not all patients with eye-related problems are going to the urgent care,” he said, “Many of those eye problems, of course, can be adequately dealt with by an emergency physician.”
Having urgent care at the same facility where the WRHA’s ophthalmology services are housed is “convenient,” Wright said.
“We don’t want to lose that capacity,” he said, “We believe we can still build that capacity for patients with specific eye problems to be able to go to Misericordia, where appropriate.”