Sign comes down as Misericordia Urgent Care Centre prepares to close

The clock is ticking for the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre.

Former hospital ER turned urgent care centre will become intravenous therapy clinic on Tuesday

Tatjana Brkic says she's grateful for the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre and will be sad to see it go. Her husband was there on Sunday for stomach issues. (Travis Golby/CBC)

The clock is ticking for the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre.

The centre, once the emergency department of what was the Misericordia General Hospital, is scheduled to close for good on Tuesday and become an intravenous therapy clinic.
The address has replaced the urgent care centre sign at Misericordia Health Centre. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

"It is sad," said Tatjana Brkic, whose husband had to go to the centre to get help with stomach pain on Sunday night.

Tatjana Brkic, who lives in St. Vital, said the centre provides speedy care and was a much better alternative to an emergency room she feared would have long waits.

"They don't see the human value," said Brent MacFarlane, who went to the Misericordia on Sunday night to get help with a blood clot he recently had. MacFarlane said it takes him 10 minutes to get from home to the centre and the care he's gotten in the past has always been top-notch.

Brent MacFarlane went to the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre to get help with a blood clot on Sunday. (Travis Golby/CBC)

MacFarlane said instead of closing the centre, decision-makers should talk with staff on the front lines, like the nurse he saw on Sunday, who he said made a list of ways to save money.

"She knows no one will ever ask her, so I find that pretty frustrating."

Late Sunday night, crews from a sign company arrived and took down the centre's urgent care sign as nurses stood outside and watched.

The decision to shutter the centre for good, announced in April by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, is part of a bigger plan to close three emergency departments, leaving Health Sciences Centre, St. Boniface Hospital and Grace Hospital as Winnipeg's primary hospitals for emergency services.

The changes are intended to streamline and concentrate resources in an effort to curb soaring health-care costs and improve emergency wait times for patients.

The Manitoba government calls the overhaul the biggest change to the provincial health-care system in a generation.

Doctors pan plan

But the plan to close the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre has been panned by doctors who work there. They penned an open letter imploring Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen and other politicians to reverse the decision to close the centre.

Of the 39,000 visits the urgent care centre received annually, approximately 11,000 are from people who live downtown and in Point Douglas, the doctors said.

Those neighbourhoods are "comprised of many of the city's impoverished, marginalized and disenfranchised" citizens, the letter read.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority plans to convert Seven Oaks Hospital's emergency room into an urgent care centre in 2018 while shuttering Concordia Hospital's ER by the end of next year.
People looking for treatment in Winnipeg on Tuesday will face the first emergency room closure in what Manitoba's health minister has called the "most significant change in the health-care system in a generation." 2:18

About the Author

Austin Grabish

Reporter

​Austin Grabish is a reporter for CBC News in Winnipeg​ where he files for TV, web and radio. ​​Born and raised in Manitoba, Austin has had an itch for news since he was young. He landed his first byline when he was just 18. Before joining CBC, he reported for several outlets with work running across the country.​ Email: austin.grabish@cbc.ca

With files from Kevin Engstrom