Answering some questions on health care
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s recently announced plan to improve patient care at hospitals and health centres has drawn no small discussion from people in our Rossmere constituency, as well as from politicians at the legislature.
Unfortunately, these discussions are not always fair and facts are sometimes lost amid clouds of emotion. Change is rarely easy, and the uncertainty of details still being worked out can be unsettling. I want to offer reassurance and answer some of the questions often raised.
These changes result from a report commissioned by the previous government, which chose the author, Dr. David Peachey. The Peachey Report analyzes Winnipeg’s unique realities in consultation with our own health care leaders, and compares Manitoba to other provinces to see what we could learn from their successes. Our government inherited the report written by Dr. Peachey, who attended the WRHA’s announcement of the plan.
Another point often not mentioned is that Winnipeg has more hospital emergency departments per capita than larger cities such as Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa, yet has the worst emergency wait times in Canada. The improvements we’re making are about healing our health care system. We are consolidating services at specific hospitals and health centres to capitalize on their strengths, so they will deliver better and more timely care with a concentration of valuable, specialized resources.
This concentration of specialized staff and resources, currently spread over seven locations, will make it easier to provide patients with the right care, at the right time and at the right place.
Another core value of the strategy is to preserve jobs. While some people’s work may take them to a different location, staff will keep their jobs and no hospitals will close. The report calls for a strategic refocusing of locations for sustainability, in order to better serve present and future generations.
These issues are not merely professional for me. My wife Ruth and I have three children and two sets of parents living here. My mom has stayed at Concordia Hospital and I have taken my children to its emergency department. I am in personal contact with the health minister and with our local hospital officials to do all I can to contribute to a smooth transition that brings minimal disruption.
The WRHA website http://www.healingourhealthsystem.ca explains the plan in more detail. The WRHA can also be reached with specific questions by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 204-926-7825. If you would like to communicate with me personally, call my office at 204-289-4545 or e-mail me at email@example.com