May 28, 2020

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Tories under fire over ER closures, other health moves

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Concordia Hospital will lose all of its emergency room services.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Concordia Hospital will lose all of its emergency room services.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/4/2017 (1144 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The New Democrats unleashed a prolonged attack on the Pallister government Monday over its plans to close emergency rooms at Concordia, Victoria and Seven Oaks hospitals.

But Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen calmly replied that it will all be for the better, that the moves announced Friday will provide better service while reducing the wait times that the former NDP government bequeathed on Manitobans

"They do not care about results, and we do," Premier Brian Pallister fired back at the NDP.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority will be launching a public education campaign shortly to explain the type of treatment that will be offered in urgent care clinics to open at Victoria and Seven Oaks, Goertzen said.

Seven New Democrats stood in question period to accuse the Tories of endangering Manitobans' health, of having a plan to close more ERs outside Winnipeg, of planning to close all of the QuickCare clinics and of failing to provide personal care home beds.

Health critic Matt Wiebe — who said Concordia's emergency room saved his life as an injured three-year-old — said that the government has an obsession with cutting services and the emergency-care system, putting families at risk.

NDP MLA Rob Altemeyer predicted that the loss of the urgent-care facility at Misericordia will "clog up" the ER at the Health Sciences Centre.

Goertzen said QuickCare clinics will continue to play a role in the health-care system, but he's considering whether they're appropriately located.

The health minister said the NDP is resisting changes to a system that for the past 17 years produced Canada's worst waiting times, adding the Opposition is content to let Manitobans "languish."

"(The NDP) know the emergency-room system wasn't working. Walking five minutes to an ER where you wait six hours doesn't make a lot of sense," Goertzen said.

"We recognize this is a significant change, I don't want to diminish that. This is a two-year plan. There's never going to be a perfectly seamless system. We'll take the time to get it right."

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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