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Mantitoba putting millions into new inpatient beds at St. Boniface Hospital

Today, the Government of Manitoba announced $13 million dollars for 36 inpatient beds at the St. Boniface Hospital to reduce emergency department (ED) wait times.

Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara said the beds will be phased in, with the first batch arriving in March. The hope is to have all 36 rolled out within the year, Asagwara said.

Dr. Paul Ratana, emergency department medical director at St. Boniface, said ED wait times are largely out of the departments control.

“There are many days where virtually all of the beds in the emergency department are occupied by patients who have already been seen and assessed, and who require admission to hospital, but their movement to the wards cannot occur for hours or in some cases, days,” he said.

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More staffed beds on inpatient units, means more capacity for EDs to quickly move patients out of the department, Ratana said. However, the plan is moot without proper staffing, which Asagwara said is a provincial and national obstacle.

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“Retention is key. Yes, training and recruitment is also key. There’s many different steps (and) angles we have to look at in terms of how we’re going to staff these beds and others. We’re doing that work,” the minister said, adding announcements about staffing initiatives will be made in the coming weeks.

For now, Premier Wab Kinew asks frontline workers to hang in there.

“We hope that you see that we are taking this seriously, and that help is coming,” he said.

Asagwara and Kinew said they are heading back to St. Boniface tomorrow morning to meet with frontline workers as a part of the government’s health care listening tour.

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