Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/7/2017 (966 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
As the 2018 closure of the Concordia ER approaches, the government is doubling down on its sales pitch here at home, instead of taking locals’ message to Broadway.
In so doing, the government is quick to refer to Dr. David Peachey’s report, which was commissioned by the previous government to find new solutions to old problems in Manitoba’s health system. Nobody will deny there are things we need to do better when it comes to health care, but that does not mean every idea for reform is a good one.
There are a few problems with the "Peachey Defence." While the report is often referred to, it is rarely quoted. To help the discussion, I want to share the Peachey recommendation that deals with emergency departments:
"D-04: Critical care units in Winnipeg Regional Health Authority be consolidated to three sites (St. Boniface General Hospital, Health Sciences Centre, and one community hospital) and that the Emergency Departments in the other three community hospitals become urgent care centres; and that cardiac critical care be contemplated separately from these critical care units." (Peachey Report, page 203).
Word for word, that is what Dr. Peachey recommended. Let us explore the ways in which the government’s decision differs from that recommendation.
First, Dr. Peachey does not say which of the community Emergency Rooms to close. On page 64 of the report, Peachey gives us the number of annual visits for each community hospital ER: Seven Oaks (43,799), Concordia (32,908), Victoria (30,032) and Grace (23,610).
The Grace Hospital has the lowest visits by far, yet that is the ER chosen to stay open. The responsibility for that decision lies squarely on the shoulders of the government.
Second, the recommendation above clearly states that any of the ERs being closed should become urgent care centres. The government chose to follow that advice in every case except the case of the Concordia ER, which will not be replaced by an urgent care centre.
That makes northeast Winnipeggers the only ones without 24-7 access to the health system in their own corner of the city. Not only is this not required by the Peachey recommendation, it appears to contradict it. The recommendation clearly says to establish urgent care centres wherever ERs are closed.
Finally, Dr. Peachey was hired to give advice to government on how to improve our health services, but he was not put in charge of making the changes. The final decision-making authority rests with the provincial government.
Elmwood-Transcona constituency report.
Daniel Blaikie is the NDP MP for Elmwood-Transcona.