The St. Boniface Hospital emergency department will expand as part of a substantial renovation, which may include the introduction of Manitoba’s second hospital helipad.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is seeking a consultant to report back this fall with a detailed plan for the renovation, including a value-for-money analysis of a helipad for the hospital, which serves as the provincial cardiac centre.
If the project moves ahead as planned, the redeveloped emergency department — which has a $3-million price tag — is expected to be complete in two years.
The work will have to be done in a way that allows the emergency room to remain open and operational.
They’ll also have to factor in the more immediate planned construction of a minor-treatment area to accommodate more patients after the WRHA closes the emergency room at Victoria Hospital as well as the urgent-care clinic at Misericordia Health Centre in October. In addition, the ERs at Seven Oaks and Concordia hospitals are scheduled to close in 2018.
A substantial renovation has been a priority for St. Boniface for several years, said Lori Lamont, the WRHA’s vice-president of interprofessional practice.
"Planning efforts done in the past have not moved forward to actual projects," Lamont said, but with the need to make some adjustments in light of the city’s system-wide overhaul to health-care delivery, the timing lined up.
"We want to make sure that it makes sense in conjunction with what might be the overall plan for St. Boniface."
Starting in October, the hospital’s emergency department will be expanded by about 5,000 square feet into the adjacent ambulatory-care facility. However, the WRHA has yet to release any costs attached to that project. A similar minor-treatment area expansion at the Health Sciences Centre ER is budgeted at about $765,000.
Construction on the full rebuild isn’t scheduled to begin until September 2018.
The fact it is scheduled to begin after the first emergency closures is a problem, NDP health critic Matt Wiebe said.
"They definitely needed to be upgraded before any major changes and closures were made at some of the other hospitals," he said.
"What it speaks to is that, for five months now, the Pallister government has thrown the whole health-care system into a state of chaos; there’s confusion everywhere and we’re just now starting to put the pieces together."