Concordia ER closure stirs debate
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/04/2017 (2156 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Concordia MLA Matt Wiebe and Elmwood-Transcona MP Daniel Blaikie held a town hall meeting on April 19 at East Elmwood Community Centre to discuss the announced closure of the Concordia Hospital emergency department.
A diverse crowd, which skewed middleaged and older and which included several health care workers, attended.
All 56 seats in the room were filled and dividers were opened so the audience could overflow into the nearby hallway.
Blaikie said that northeast Winnipeg’s access to medical services has been particularly harmed by the WHRA’s plans for closing emergency departments, because the two other hospitals facing ER closures (Seven Oaks and Victoria) will gain urgent care centres.
According to the WRHA reorganization plan released April 7, Concordia Hospital will specialize in orthopedics, geriatric rehabilitation services and transitional care for patients waiting to get into personal care homes but made no mention of a new urgent care facility.
Blaikie also argued that the plans for Concordia Hospital were not drawn from the Peachey Report, which the provincial government used as the basis for the ER closures.
On page 204, the report recommends converting closed ER rooms into urgent care centres.
Wiebe argued that the Concordia ER closure was part of a very narrow, cost-cutting agenda of the Pallister government. According to Wiebe, $50 million of the $80 million in savings he says the province ordered the WRHA to make will come from ER closures.
“Closing an ER just to save money is not what this community needs and is not what we want” the MLA added.
An audience member asked if the province considered how closing Concordia would affect neighbouring areas.
Matt Wiebe responded that this was a major concern, noting that if you live in “Transcona and beyond,” the greater the problem of no nearby ERs. He also said that this downloads responsibility onto ambulances and first responders yet no new money for those services has been announced.
Another audience member argued that, coupled with the cancellation of post-graduation university tuition rebates, changes the province is making to the healthcare system will make it harder to recruit and retain health care professionals.
A few health care workers in the audience described being in uncertain job situations. One stated she may get “slotted in” somewhere else but does not know “where and doing what”.
Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for Elmwood.
West Broadway community correspondent
Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for West Broadway.