Government Cuts to Health Care Throw Misericordia Urgent Care Centre into Turmoil

Patients given no Notice; may be Scrambling for Treatment as Early as June 19

June 9, 2017

A memo from the chief medical officer of Misericordia Urgent Care Centre reveals the centre may have to close overnight as early as June 19, NDP Health Critic Matt Wiebe said today.

“The Pallister government’s ill-conceived plan to cut costs at Winnipeg hospitals is already hurting patient care.” Wiebe said. “The government has given no warning to the thousands of patients who depend on the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre when they need essential medical services.”

In a memo to staff obtained by the NDP, Dr. John Reda states “… it appears it will become close to impossible to fully staff Urgent Care as early as June 19, 2017.” Dr. Reda’s memo states the health centre will do its best to keep a “baseline staffing” level, but admits patients will likely have to be redirected to other facilities between 10 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.

Wiebe noted Dr. Reda’s memo attributes the problem to directions from the WRHA, which has been ordered to close three emergency rooms as well as the Misericordia Urgent Care Cente, cut more than $80 million from its budget and lay off more than 100 health-care professionals. “The WRHA ER consolidation and clinical restructuring has caused a lot of recent staff movement throughout sites, and MHC’s Urgent Care is no exception,” Dr. Reda stated in his memo to staff.

“It’s time for the Pallister government to admit that this is a cost-cutting exercise and has nothing to do with improving patient care,” said NDP MLA Rob Altemeyer, whose riding is home to the centre. “Patients will have to travel to another urgent care centre or ER and nothing has been done to prepare those other facilities to take on more patients. We’re just going to end up with more people crowding fewer treatment facilities. ”

A copy of Dr. Reda’s memo is below


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On Jun 9, 2017, at 0:03, John Reda wrote:

The WRHA ER consolidation and clinical restructuring has caused a lot of recent staff movement throughout sites, and MHC’s Urgent Care is no exception.

We’re making every effort to keep baseline staffing, including hiring casual nurses from a temporary staffing agency. Our aim is to reduce the pressure on staff with fewer overtime requests.

We’re certainly not changing shifts or trying at all to reduce staffing – just maintain baseline staffing. Summers are difficult to staff at the best of times and, looking ahead, it appears it will become close to impossible to fully staff Urgent Care as early as June 19, 2017.

When this becomes the case, then we plan to temporarily redirect new patients from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Any patients presenting will be briefly assessed by a nurse or doctor before being redirected. Patients can go another site of their choice or we will provide transport to the WRHA-recommended site.

If any patients arrive in extremis, the team will provide ACLS and other care as needed until WFPS arrives.

We will also assess and treat all eye patients as usual regardless of whether we have a diversion at the time.

There will be usual staffing until 11:30 p.m., and there will always be at least one doctor, one nurse, an aide, a registration clerk, and security staff present.

The plan is to stay fully open as many nights as possible. However, on the nights we are unable to meet baseline staffing then we will be redirecting new patients.

This plan, still a work in progress today, is being implemented to try to provide as much care as we can while also providing a safe environment for both our patients and our staff.

Please feel free to share your questions, concerns and/or suggestions with us.

John E. Reda MD FACEP
Chief Medical Officer
Site Medical Director, Misericordia Urgent Care Centre
Misericordia Health Centre
99 Cornish Ave.
Winnipeg, MB
Canada R3C 1A2