Walk-in clinic will inherit some of Concordia Hospital's ER space

The walk-in connected care clinic will open next summer, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Wednesday at a media conference.

Connected care clinics offer alternative to urgent or emergency care for same-day health issues

Concordia Hospital will become the site of a walk-in connected care clinic next summer after its emergency room closes. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

A new walk-in clinic will take up part of the space opened up by the closure of the emergency department at Winnipeg's Concordia Hospital, the provincial government says.

The walk-in connected care clinic will open next summer, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Wednesday at a media conference.

The new clinic, with extended operating hours, is set to open weeks after the hospital's emergency department closes in June 2019, said Lori Lamont, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's acting operating officer.

The space is being converted as part of the WRHA's ongoing transformation of the city's health-care services.

The clinic will open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offer an alternative to urgent or emergency care for health issues that are not life-threatening but need to be addressed the same day.

Half of the people who visit Concordia's ER could be cared for in a connected care clinic, Goertzen said.

Val Wiebe, president and chief operating officer of Concordia Hospital, said transformation of the hospital has been ongoing in its 90-year history. (CBC)

"This project builds on Concordia Hospital's strength in family medicine and enhances the hospital's role as a health resource to the surrounding community," Goertzen said in a media release.

"The changes will provide improved access to primary care providers in East Kildonan, North Kildonan and Transcona while extending the hours of walk-in care for the community."

The Concordia clinic will be staffed by physicians, registered nurses and other professionals who work with family physicians. It will offer similar services to the health region's first walk-in connected care clinic, located adjacent to Grace Hospital's new emergency department.

It will also include laboratory and diagnostic services on-site.

Health providers at a connected care clinic work in collaboration with primary care providers, which is not a feature of existing walk-in clinics, Lamont told reporters.

"Too often people seek care in multiple places and then there isn't a consistent plan."

The province's announcement came two hours after the Canadian Union of Public Employees held a rally to save the Concordia Hospital ER.

Concordia embracing change: president

Goertzen said the province was not prepared Wednesday to announce its plans for the rest of the space at Concordia Hospital freed up by the pending closure of the emergency department.

Val Wiebe, president and CEO of Concordia Hospital, said she looks forward to redefining the hospital's role as Winnipeg's health-care system evolves.

"For past 90 years, Concordia has been there to support the community and is used to transition and can embrace it," she said.