Manitoba

WRHA wants a further 15% reduction in ER wait times

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority intends to further slash emergency room wait times in the year ahead.

Targeted cut would be in addition to ER wait times dropping 16% in 2017-18

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is seeking a 15 per cent reduction in median wait times at the city's emergency rooms. (CBC)

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority intends to further slash emergency room wait times in the year ahead.

Réal Cloutier, interim president and CEO, said today the health authority wants to cut wait times by 15 per cent in the coming year, which follows a 16 per cent overall reduction in the past year.

Cloutier revealed his new target during his remarks Thursday morning at the grand opening of the new $43.8 million emergency room at Grace Hospital.

The goal was announced as health officials prepare for the second phase of a multi-year reorganization of Winnipeg's health care services. The sweeping changes include converting the emergency room at Seven Oaks Hospital into an urgent care centre and shuttering Concordia Hospital's ER department.

The province will announce more details about the plan next week, which launches Tuesday with the re-opening of Grace's ER.

The first phase of the plan, implemented last October, closed the urgent care centre at Misericordia Health Centre and converted the ER at Victoria General Hospital into an urgent care centre, among other changes.

Winter spike blamed on flu

Although the average wait time dropped to 1.35 hours in October, the month the health care overhaul was introduced, the median wait steadily increased every month until at least this March (2.02 hours) when the WRHA released preliminary year-end numbers.

Health officials blamed the flu for the month-by-month uptick, but the opposition NDP said the spike is evidence the Pallister government's overhaul is not working.

Overall, the median wait time at city ERs improved to 1.62 hours in 2017-18 from 1.93 hours in 2016-17.

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