December 17, 2019
WINNIPEG - The Pallister Government is still putting Manitobans at risk by ignoring its own experts' recommendations on handling ER closures, said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface.
Lamont said the PCs should hardly be patting themselves on a back for moving ahead with a necessary facility upgrade after bungling reforms and ignoring safety recommendations.
"The government should have held off on closing other ERs until St Boniface was expanded and ready to open, but the PCs ignored their own experts," said Lamont. "Pallister and the PCs have taken the approach they should 'close ERs and ask questions later' and the result has been longer waits, caregiver burnout and higher risks for patients."
Two years ago this week, on Dec 21, 2017, the Wait Times Task Force warned that the ER at the St. Boniface was already "old and inadequate even for current volumes of patients" and that closing ERs at Concordia, Seven Oaks and Victoria would lead to a 55% increase in patient volume at St Boniface.
The government proceeded with closing the other ERs anyway, even though St. Boniface Hospital requires a massive overhaul. On multiple occasions this year, all of Winnipeg's ERs have been on "redirect" - with ERs turning away patients.
The updated Peachey report from May 15, 2019 (Pg. 29) reported that "after Completion of Phase One of the WRHA, the volume and acuity of emergency department patients at St. Boniface increased."
The report stated that:
-Every unit is over census
-Acuity is higher across all unitsStaff and nursing workload has increased substantially and morale is low
-Extant funding models do not align with contemporary medical care
-Necessary infrastructure has not been put on place."
One of the reasons for all the trouble at St. Boniface was that, "Fiscal challenges for the hospital can, in part relate to dollars not following the patients from other locations."
"The Pallister Government chose to close ERs and overload St. Boniface Hospital and then expected people at the hospital to deliver the care for free," said Lamont. "Their approach to health care reform has been to "move fast and break things" which is reckless when people's health is at stake."