The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority will open a walk-in clinic in Concordia Hospital, shortly after it closes the facility’s emergency room in mid-2019.
Manitoba Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the clinic, staffed by doctors and registered nurses, will handle up to 50 per cent of the patients who would normally go to the hospital’s ER.
"It will be open 365 days a year, 12 hours a day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.," he told a news conference Wednesday at Concordia.
Goertzen said the government has listened to area residents who wanted to see a continued walk-in service at the hospital.
He said he wanted to assure them "Concordia will continue to be a vital part of the health-care system in Winnipeg."
The closure of Concordia’s ER is part of a system-wide transformation of city hospitals that will concentrate emergency room services at three institutions: Grace Hospital, St. Boniface Hospital and the Health Sciences Centre.
"Winnipeggers were waiting too long in emergency rooms and often transferred multiple times to receive the right care," said Lori Lamont, the WRHA’s acting chief operating officer, referring to the old system.
The planned clinic will have laboratory and diagnostic services on-site, connect patients with other health professionals and arrange for followup visits, if necessary, with their family physician, she said.
The clinic will provide a more appropriate level of care for many patients who now use the hospital’s ER, Lamont said.
"This is a much more efficient model in terms of meeting a particular type of care. It’s designed really to meet those primary care, same-day kinds of needs."
NDP health critic Andrew Swan panned the announcement.
"(The Progressive Conservative) government keeps trying to convince Manitobans that less health care is more health care," he said.
"They closed QuickCare clinics across the city and now their big announcement is they’re going to reopen, really, the equivalent of a QuickCare clinic at Concordia Hospital."
The new walk-in clinic will take up a portion — 3,800 square feet — of the current ER. Hospital officials say they will soon announce how the rest of the space will be used.
While a primary-care clinic currently exists on-site, it does not offer walk-in services. No appointment will be necessary to use the new facility.
Many northeast Winnipeg patients who need greater care than is provided by a walk-in clinic are likely to travel to the ER at St. Boniface hospital, health officials expect.
Some may also go to Health Sciences Centre or to the urgent-care centre that will replace Seven Oaks General Hospital’s ER next year.
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.