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The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has laid out its plan for restructuring, including a timeline for emergency department closures.

The first of three EDs to close in Winnipeg will be at Victoria Hospital. It will be converted to an urgent care centre October 3rd, while Misericordia's urgent care unit will be turned into a community IV clinic. Those moves are part of phase one of the massive undertaking; phase one also includes the opening of new clinical assessment units at St. Boniface and Grace hospitals, and an expansion of these services at HSC.

Staff will be moved around to accomodate the changes, including doctors. The WRHA says it believes there will be a job opportunity for those who wish to continue working in their system. Vice president, interprofessional practice and chief nursing officer Lori Lamont admits they don't know if or how many staff will choose to quit instead of move. But she says they will be monitoring staff movement, and as far as emergency physician staffing, the timing is good.



Lamont says as they lead up to the changes, communication with the public will be very important. A public education campaign actually started in April but due to a media blackout for a byelection in Point Douglas it was put on hold. It's since picked up again. The campaign includes an interactive map that can be found on the WRHA website.

Phase two will occur in the spring and summer of 2018. It will include the opening of an expanded emergency department at Grace Hospital, and the closing of ERs at Seven Oaks and Concordia. Seven Oaks will be converted into an urgent care unit. Both phases include other changes as well.

Lamont says the changes will be monitored to gauge their success, and to check for unintended consequences and consider potential contingency plans they may need to employ.