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Uncertainty of ER closure concerns Concordia staff

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Concordia Hospital </p>

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Concordia Hospital

The head of the union representing technologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists at Concordia Hospital says his members are "desperate for information" about how they will be affected by the facility's emergency room closure.

Bob Moroz, president of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals, said vague statements by Health Minister Cameron Friesen earlier this week aren't helping ease their uncertainty.

"We've been waiting for answers forever," Moroz said in an interview Tuesday.

Under the Pallister government's hospital reorganization plan, Concordia is set to lose its ER in June. Asked about the timing on Monday, Friesen declined to set a date, saying several factors were still at play, including the timetable for completion of renovations to the St. Boniface Hospital emergency department.

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The head of the union representing technologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists at Concordia Hospital says his members are "desperate for information" about how they will be affected by the facility's emergency room closure.

Bob Moroz, president of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals, said vague statements by Health Minister Cameron Friesen earlier this week aren't helping ease their uncertainty.

"We've been waiting for answers forever," Moroz said in an interview Tuesday.

Under the Pallister government's hospital reorganization plan, Concordia is set to lose its ER in June. Asked about the timing on Monday, Friesen declined to set a date, saying several factors were still at play, including the timetable for completion of renovations to the St. Boniface Hospital emergency department.

That didn't sit well with the MAHCP, which still doesn't know how many of its members will be laid off or transferred to other facilities with the ER closure.

"It's been clear to us for a long time, it's been clear to our members, that there still isn't a solid plan," Moroz said. "They're making this up as they go along."

He said that, as recently as last week, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority discouraged him from discussing the situation with his members because final decisions on the exact numbers of affected staff had yet to be made.

The union received three month's notice on March 25 about staff changes at Concordia. The notice said the changes wouldn't take effect before June 24.

Moroz said health workers have lived with uncertainty at Concordia for two years, when the ER's closure was first announced.

MAHCP has more than 120 members at the hospital. Not all will be directly impacted by the closure, Moroz said. But other than that he doesn't know what to tell them.

"They're so desperate for information," he said. "They're terrified."

In a statement late on Tuesday, the WRHA said health administrators continue to work towards a "late June" timeline for the transition to occur.

"Once a final date is confirmed, it will be communicated with members of the community, patients and staff," the statement said.

"Changes at Concordia Hospital are part of a dynamic plan that contains several moving parts, so the final transition dates are dependent on continued efforts to ensure the best possible patient care and safety. This includes ongoing assessment of progress and discussions with our clinical partners and front-line staff to adjust elements of the plan as needed," the statement said.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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