Resignations of several neurologists from HSC 'significantly' affects staffing: memo
Health minister says recruitment underway, NDP says loss of doctors undermines health care
Several neurologists have resigned from the Health Sciences Centre's Neurology Clinic, leaving the hospital to deal with a staffing shortage.
An internal memo obtained by CBC News on Monday from Shared Health says "due to several upcoming and unexpected resignations, compounded by previous resignations, some of which remain unfilled, physician staffing in neurology will be significantly impacted."
The memo says starting Sept. 8, neurology services will be centralized at HSC and there will no longer be a stroke program at St. Boniface Hospital or a 24/7 general neurology consult service at the hospital.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen's office confirmed Monday night a number of neurologists had resigned from the HSC neurology clinic.
"While the recent loss of some neurologists certainly has an immediate impact that must be managed, we have confidence that recruitment efforts underway will be successful in filling the positions," Friesen said in a statement.
Neither the minister nor Shared Health would say the reason for the resignations. A Shared Health spokesperson said several members of the neurology group that resigned worked on call at Winnipeg hospitals.
The spokesperson said centralizing neurology services at HSC will ensure 24/7 coverage for both the acute stroke program and general neurology consultation services. In the meantime, added recruitment efforts are ongoing, both nationally and internationally.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew said the resignations leave patients in the lurch.
"There needs to be reassurance to the families that they're going to be able to continue getting the care that they need," he said.
"Unfortunately it's not one that we're just going to be able to pull a 180 on and bring new people in to fill that need. These are highly specialized individuals, so any loss here is going to really undermine health care in Manitoba in a very serious way."
Friesen said the province has done a lot to retain neurologists in Manitoba, including an announcement last year of a new acute stroke unit at HSC.
With files from Kristin Annable