Manitoba

Next phase of Manitoba's health-care overhaul begins with planned demolition of St. Boniface Hospital ward

Winnipeg's health authority is moving forward with plans to enact the second phase of sweeping health-care changes in the city, starting with the demolition of a recently emptied ward at St. Boniface Hospital.

WRHA issued tender Wednesday for demolition of recently emptied ward at St. Boniface

Lori Lamont, acting COO for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, says the demolition won't affect patients' experiences at the hospital. (CBC)

Winnipeg's health authority is moving forward with plans to enact the second phase of sweeping health-care changes in the city, starting with the demolition of a recently emptied ward at St. Boniface Hospital.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority issued a tender for the demolition work on Wednesday, said Lori Lamont, acting chief operating officer for the health authority.

The demolition is the first step in transforming the former geriatric rehabilitation space at the hospital into expanded waiting room space, triage space and treatment areas to address increased volume at the hospital's emergency room, following the upcoming closure of ERs at Concordia and Seven Oaks hospitals.

Geriatric rehabilitation services were moved from St. Boniface to the Victoria General Hospital as part of the first phase of changes last year.

"In terms of the geography, it's particularly important," Lamont said, since following the closure of Concordia's ER, "we anticipate that [for] a number of people from the eastern part of the city, St. Boniface will become … the closest hospital."

The demolition is the health authority's first action toward enacting Phase 2 of changes under the Healing Our Health Systems plan, announced in April 2017, the WRHA said in a news release Wednesday.

The first phase of changes included the closure of the emergency room at Victoria General Hospital and the urgent care centre at Misericordia Health Centre last October.

The second phase will include the closure of the emergency rooms at Concordia Hospital and Seven Oaks General Hospital, as well as the opening of a new emergency department at the Grace Hospital later this spring, which will be the first second-phase change to affect patients.

Lamont said the health authority hasn't laid out a clear timeline for those changes yet.

"We are working on the final timeline for our Phase 2 changes but it will be several weeks before we're able to really talk about what that timeline is going to be," she said.

"The demolition work is important in helping to inform us. We are never entirely certain what's behind the walls until they start that demolition. We don't anticipate any surprises, and then we'll work forward with the actual space improvements."

Demolition, renovation to cost $5M

Demolition work to the roughly 200-square-metre ward is expected to happen throughout April, the health authority said in its release. Renovations are set to be completed by summer 2019.

The whole project will cost about $5 million, the WRHA said. The hospital will get an additional eight stretchers, 21 internal waiting spaces, roughly 25 pre-triage waiting spaces, nine new treatment beds and one additional resuscitation bed.

A new triage desk will also be added, along with improved design and additional capacity in the waiting area.

Lamont said the work won't impact patient care at the hospital.

"It's pretty much contained behind four walls," she said.

"When we get into the construction of the actual renovation work for the space, there may be some access changes at St. Boniface but we'll certainly communicate those."

now