MNU responds to the WRHA’s implementation of Phase II

Publish date: Thursday, May 31, 2018

Politics & Government

Put Patients First

MNU President Sandi Mowat issued the following statement to media today in response to the WRHA’s implementation of Phase II:

“Nurses are profoundly disappointed that the WRHA is insisting on moving ahead with this reckless cost-cutting plan. We have seen a reduction of services and staffing that has resulted in a deterioration in both access to care and the quality of care that patients receive.

“To date, we’ve seen the closure of the Mature Women’s Health Centre, four Quick Care Clinics, the Misericordia Urgent Care Centre, and the Corydon Primary Care Centre. Victoria hospital has lost vital services including their Emergency room and ICU. At HSC nursing positions including Clinical Nurse Specialists in the Trauma and Burn units, IV specialists, and lactation consultants have been cut.

“Patient acuity at some facilities including Grace Hospital has increased significantly without sufficient staffing to meet patient needs. St. Boniface Hospital saw the deletion of over 1,000 nursing positions, which has led to widespread disruption and an unprecedented reliance on mandatory overtime that continues to be a major problem.

“Remaining emergency rooms are reporting overcrowding and patients being treated in hallways as volumes have spiked beyond predicted levels. Some facilities are no longer replacing the first sick call, meaning patients receive less care while nurses are stretched even thinner.

“Simply put, claiming that these changes will improve patient care belies the government’s true motivation to balance their budget on the backs of Manitoba patients, nurses, and health care providers. Nurses are expressing almost universal concern about the cuts and changes to our health care system, and we will continue to speak out.”

The following letter went out to MNU members in affected facilities in the WRHA:

Dear member,

After several months of delays, today the WRHA has released their implementation plan for Phase II of their reorganization. The region has provided an overview of their plan, available here. Details from the WRHA’s presentation for each affected facility are provided below.

We are profoundly disappointed that the WRHA is insisting on moving ahead with their plan. To date we have seen only a reduction of services and staffing that has resulted in a deterioration in both access to and quality of care that our patients receive. Many nurses across the system are struggling with overcrowding and unmanageable workloads, along with a heavy reliance on overtime to fill the gaps they created.

We will continue to oppose these cuts and changes publicly, we will continue to lobby the government and the region to reconsider this initiative, and we will continue to ensure that your rights are protected and the provisions of your collective agreement are respected.

Though the biggest changes aren’t scheduled to be implemented until June 2019, we are told some changes will begin toward the end of 2018.

The employer is required to provide notice 90 days in advance of initiating employment security processes. To date no notice has been provided.

We have been called to a meeting with the region again next week where we expect to receive more information on employment security plans. We will share updates with affected nurses as information is provided to us.

I know this has been a difficult and uncertain process for affected nurses. I share your frustration. Phase I of this plan was rushed, chaotic and very poorly communicated. While the uncertainty seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future, rest assured that we will share reliable information with affected nurses as soon as we have it. If you have questions or concerns in the meantime, I strongly encourage you to connect with your MNU ward representative or local representative.

I would also encourage you to speak out, by wearing a Put Patients First button, wearing white on Wednesdays, and by sending a letter to the Health Minister and your MLA. These may seem like small gestures, but nurses are the most trusted spokespeople in health, and when we unite with a strong message, we can be a powerful force to improve patient care and protect our public health care system.

Finally, I would like to thank all nurses for your commitment to delivering the best possible care to your patients, even in these uncertain times. Your continued dedication and selflessness is an inspiration.


Sandi Mowat
Manitoba Nurses Union

Phase II changes as outlined in the WRHA presentation (see the full presentation):

Concordia Hospital

  • Will continue its role with orthopedic surgery.
  • ED closes June 2019.
  • Inpatient care will focus on community hospital medicine and rehabilitation. (sub-acute)
  • Post Acute Neurosurgical Unit moves to Concordia.
  • Exploring opportunities to repurpose the existing ED space for June 2019.

Grace Hospital

  • The new emergency department opened May 29 is triple the size and will accommodate nearly double the number of patients as the old department each year.
  • Mental Health: will move from Grace and Seven Oaks Hospitals into HSC, St. Boniface and Victoria late fall/early winter.
  • Increase in surgical activity including orthopedic trauma in January 2019.

Health Sciences Centre

  • HSC will continue to focus on providing trauma burns and neurosurgery specialty care to the most seriously ill and injured patients in our province.
  • Intensive care (ICU): HSC will expand to accommodate services previously at Concordia and Seven Oaks August, 2019.
  • Mental Health: will be concentrated at HSC, St. Boniface and Victoria hospitals fall/winter 2018/19.
  • Surgery program activity will increase.

Seven Oaks Hospital

  • Emergency: Seven Oaks converts to Urgent Care in September 2019.
  • ICU: services shift out of Seven Oaks to HSC.
  • Medicine: Seven Oaks converts to community hospital medicine and transitional care. (sub-acute).
  • Rehabilitation and Geriatric services continue.
  • Surgery: shifts from Seven Oaks to other sites in January 2019.
  • Mental Health: consolidates Seven Oaks into HSC, St. Boniface and Victoria.
  • Continues to play an important role in Renal Care
  • Endoscopy: exploring options to expand.

St. Boniface Hospital

  • Emergency: St. Boniface emergency department requires a number of upgrades to keep its design and function in line with the other acute sites. Majority of improvements completed June 2019 with final completion by October 2019.
  • ICU: intensive care expansion (ICMS)
  • Mental Health: consolidates from Grace and Seven Oaks into St. Boniface, HSC and Victoria in fall/winter 2018.
  • Cardiac bed expansion summer 2019.

Victoria Hospital

  • Mental Health: consolidates from Grace and Seven Oaks into Victoria, HSC and St. Boniface fall/early winter.
  • In order for Victoria to welcome its new role in the mental health program, renovations are underway within the facility with an anticipated occupancy and move-in this fall/early winter.
  • Continue with Day Surgery program.
  • Shift to Urgent Care has been successful.
  • Transitional Care will be converted to community hospital care (sub-acute)


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