Hearing tests for newborns will be available at 13 health-care facilities across Manitoba next month, the provincial government says.

A universal screening program is being implemented in all regional health authorities. Previously, hearing tests for newborns were offered only in Brandon, Winnipeg and Thompson.

Early detection helps children with congenital hearing loss get the treatment they need quickly, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen said Tuesday.

The expanded program means screening services will available at the following facilities as of Sept. 1:

  • Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.
  • St. Boniface General Hospital in Winnipeg.
  • Portage District General Hospital.
  • Bethesda Hospital in Steinbach.
  • Ste. Anne Hospital.
  • Boundary Trails Health Centre between Morden and Winkler.
  • Selkirk and District General Hospital.
  • Brandon Regional Health Centre.
  • Dauphin Health Centre.
  • Neepawa Health Centre.
  • Thompson General Hospital.
  • Flin Flon General Hospital.
  • St. Anthony's General Hospital in The Pas.

Babies born at home or in facilities with fewer than 75 births a year are to be referred to the nearest outpatient hearing centre for screening.

A common database will ensure infants born in one region and living in another have co-ordinated care.

There are 16,000 to 17,000 babies born in Manitoba each year, government officials said.

Manitoba's previous NDP government had announced in October 2015 that the newborn hearing screening program would be expanded, after the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Act received the support of all political parties in the legislature.

With files from The Canadian Press