While it appears the stage is set for the closure of Concordia Hospital’s ER, a group of concerned residents and the area MLA aren’t calling it curtains just yet.
Starting Dec. 10, ambulances in northeast Winnipeg with critically ill patients will be diverted away from Concordia to Health Sciences, St. Boniface or Grace Hospitals. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority will also be diverting patients in "very serious" condition away from Concordia between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
"It’s very disappointing," said Matt Wiebe, MLA for Concordia. "We understood from the government plan that there would be some reduction of service, and now we know what that’s going to look like."
The government made the announcement on Nov. 30. Save the Concordia ER, a grassroots group of concerned citizens, spent Dec. 2 door-knocking in nearby North Kildonan and Radisson.
"We had this event planned before we heard that, but we’re definitely stepping up our efforts given the news we heard on Friday," Andy Regier, an organizer with the Save the Concordia ER group, said. "The government seems determined to close the ER, but we’re still not giving up."
Currently, Concordia is still providing emergency services 24 hours a day to patients who arrive at ER. The WRHA said that the changes will not lead to any layoffs or a reduction in hours for staff. The ER is scheduled to close in June 2019. A Connected Care Clinic is slated to fill much of the space, and offer walk-in care from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
"Residents are asking for ER and 24-hour service," Wiebe said. "I don’t think this premier has any concerns of how changes are going to impact our part of the city. But local MLAs better be listening to residents."
Regier and a 13 other volunteers canvassed area residents, urging them to sign and send postcards to their MLAs voicing opposition to the planned closure of the ER. Regier said that, to date, over 400 postcards had been sent. He also said that the group has a meeting with northeastern Conservative MLAs coming up in which they hope to plead their case for keeping the ER open.
"We’re collecting (more signatures) now, which we’re planning to deliver at our meeting," Regier said.
Community journalist — The Herald
Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112