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Wait times decline in emergency, urgent care, says Winnipeg health authority

The WRHA says there has been a 13 per cent decrease in median wait times from the previous month.

Lori Lamont, chief nursing officer and vice president of the WRHA said the conversion of Victoria General Hospital’s emergency department to urgent care has halved wait times.

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Lori Lamont, chief nursing officer and vice president of the WRHA said the conversion of Victoria General Hospital’s emergency department to urgent care has halved wait times.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says hospital wait times have declined in the early stages of its massive healthcare overhaul – and are now closer to the national average.

The data, released Thursday, was collected between Oct. 3 and Oct. 22 from all emergency and urgent care sites in the health authority (WRHA). It shows a 13 per cent decrease in median wait times from the previous month and a 28 per cent decrease from the same time frame last year, the WRHA said.

Wait times in emergency rooms are now closer to the national average—at a median of 11.5 hours this month, down 22 per cent from October 2016.

“While we acknowledge the implementation of such broad changes will require significant monitoring over the longer term, we are pleased that preliminary data shows significant improvements have been made to emergency wait times over the same time frame last year,” Kelvin Goertzen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living said in a media release.

Lori Lamont, chief nursing officer and vice president of the WRHA said the conversion of Victoria General Hospital’s emergency department to urgent care means the site can treat more patients daily. Wait times are half what they were in the same time frame last year, she said.

However, the president of Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) Michelle Gawronsky said it’s difficult to establish a meaningful trend after three weeks.

“We all want to believe, after all of the cuts and upheaval we have seen in our healthcare system, that this will somehow result in better patient care,” she said in an emailed statement.

“So far, our healthcare workers haven’t seen that.”

She added that the MGEU wants to see information coming from the WRHA on a monthly basis from all sites, like Concordia and Seven Oaks hospitals, where they may be experiencing some additional challenges like increased ambulance volumes.

Coming up next:

- Victoria General Hospital will begin accepting geriatric rehabilitation patients this week.

- Priority Home, an intensive, short-term home care service for patients returning to or in community, begins next month.

- Deer Lodge Centre will see more patients with special and behavioural needs in its converted unit near the end of November.

- The geriatric rehabilitation unit will move from Riverview to Deer Lodge Centre.

- The transitional care unit at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg will close. Patients will instead receive care at River Ridge II or Victoria General Hospital.

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