Media release

WRHA announces Phase II plans

May 31, 2018 - Building on the success achieved through the first phase of the Healing our Health System plan, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) today announced details and timelines for the implementation of the next phase of health service consolidation designed to improve wait times and access to timely care for patients.

"Emergency wait times have been significantly reduced, lengths of stay are trending downward and the region is seeing fewer patients waiting in hospital for personal care home placement than it has ever seen," said Kelvin Goertzen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living. "For years, Manitobans endured an inefficient health-care system that featured the longest emergency wait times in the country despite spending more money per capita than most other provinces and having more emergency departments in Winnipeg than cities much larger in size.

"Manitobans have been asking for a better system for decades. This plan is our response and these steady improvements show it is working."

The sequenced implementation of Phase II changes began earlier this month with the opening of Grace Hospital's new emergency department. Designed to treat more than 60,000 patients per year, this expanded capacity supports Grace Hospital in its role as the region's third acute site in addition to Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg (HSC) and St. Boniface Hospital, said Lori Lamont, acting chief operating officer and vice-president, nursing and health professionals.

"It's important we pace the changes appropriately to ensure the right resources are in place to provide the safest, most timely care to our patients and their families," said Lamont. "The additional feedback offered by the Wait Times Reduction Task Force and through our ongoing collaboration with Shared Health, has allowed us to further revise and refine our plans and timelines but does mean the transformation of the health system in Winnipeg will take a bit longer than initially targeted. We remain confident though that these revised plans best meet the needs of Winnipeggers and fit into the overall clinical plan for the province."

In addition to the expanded capacity at Grace Hospital, Phase II will see important renovations made to enhance the emergency departments at both HSC and St. Boniface Hospital. Those renovations will be completed prior to the closure of Concordia Hospital's emergency department in June 2019 and the conversion of Seven Oaks General Hospital's emergency department to an urgent care centre in September, 2019.

These investments will increase emergency department capacity and improve treatment spaces. They will also concentrate resources - including staffing and specialized equipment - to accommodate more patients while ensuring timely access to the right care. The region continues to pursue a detailed plan with Concordia Hospital to identify the health services that may occupy the Concordia emergency department space.

"Expanded capacity of the WRHA's acute-care emergency departments, the creation of additional sub-acute capacity across the system and the engagement of clinical leadership were identified in the interim evaluation as key elements to both improving the performance of Winnipeg hospitals and the waits experienced by patients," said Lanette Siragusa, chief integration officer of health services and chief nursing officer at Shared Health. "While the transformation of the health system in Winnipeg will take a bit longer than initially targeted, and will require careful ongoing evaluation and monitoring, Shared Health is confident the region's revised plans align with provincial clinical and preventive services planning that is underway and will ensure continuity of excellent patient care."

"Our system, staff and physicians have worked hard over the past year to improve wait times and see fewer patients remain in hospital longer than necessary," said Dr. Alecs Chochinov, medical director of emergency medicine for the WRHA and co-chair of the Emergency Department Wait Times Reduction Committee of the Wait Times Reduction Task Force.

"We must continue these important efforts, as there remains more work to be done to improve our system. I am committed to working actively with the emergency and other programs to improve access for patients and eliminate patient boarding. Those elements remain essential to the success of this plan."

Included in the Phase II highlights announced today was a completion timeline for the consolidation of mental health Services at Victoria Hospital (to be complemented by existing resources at HSC and St. Boniface Hospital). The consolidation of in-patient mental health services across the region is expected to be complete in December 2018 and will see 52 beds relocated to Victoria Hospital to expand on-site treatment and counselling spaces and improve on-site access to psychiatrists.

"Overall, we've seen a 15 per cent decrease in wait times already with our plan less than half-realized," said Real Cloutier, interim chief executive officer of the WRHA. "And the average length of stay for inpatients has improved by 6.6 per cent."

"We need to continue with our efforts and momentum to see further, bolder progress and improvement."

Summary of Phase II Initiatives

Enhancement of Cardiac Services

Community Intravenous Program

Emergency Departments

Intensive Care Units (ICU)


Mental Health



Phase II Presentation

Patient Journeys

Video: RĂ©al Cloutier

Video: Karen Dunlop

Video: Lori Lamont

For more information please contact Amy or Bronwyn in WRHA communications at:

amcguinness@wrha.mb.ca 204-926-7178, or bpennerholigroski@wrha.mb.ca 204-926-7868