Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre officially unveils new transplant clinic

Modern, unique and all in one place — three words the director of Manitoba’s adult kidney transplant program uses to describe its new facility at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre.

“It is very modern, it is very comfortable,” Dr. David Rush said during a tour for media on Monday. “The patient rooms are state of the art.… We are very, very happy.” 

Patients and staff started using the $4.5-million facility last July. Manitoba’s lung and liver transplant programs eventually will share the space. 

Previously, clinics, doctors, nurses and other facilities were housed in 10 different spaces, Rush said. That meant patients would need separate appointments in separate facilities to see the various clinicians, doctors and nurses who handled their care. 

“Having all the team together at the same time, in the same facility, means every patient can see every person they need to see in the same visit,” he said. 

The new clinic boasts large clinic spaces, rooms with every type of equipment a patient might need and advanced communications and computer equipment throughout. 

The transplant clinic takes up an entire floor of the Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine and is more than 11,000 square feet — about four times the size of the previous space used. It offers consultations and care before and after people receive their surgeries.

It is expected to boost the number of kidney transplants performed in Winnipeg to around 70 every year from 50.

While the pandemic put a damper on some surgeries and procedures in 2020, Rush said his clinic stayed on course. 

“The demand for dialysis and transplant has increased,” he said, pointing to research that suggests a higher prevalence of diabetes among people on the Prairies. 

About 10 per cent of Manitobans live with diabetes, Diabetes Canada says. The disease can lead to kidney failure, and eventually dialysis or a transplant. 

The facility boasts large meeting and patient areas. (Citytv/Pool)

The clinic will also serve patients in northern and remote rural Manitoba via telehealth. 

It will also help support research that is done locally — and there is a lot of it, Rush said.

“We are leaders in transplantation in Canada and we are recognized internationally,” Rush said.

“It is nice to have finally a space that is deserved for everyone that works here. We feel very fortunate to be working with such good people.” 

The facility also features its own on-site lab. Previously, patients had to be taken to other areas of the hospital. (Citytv/Pool)

Two anonymous donors gave the Health Sciences Centre Foundation $3 million for the clinic’s construction. The balance of the project — about $1.5 million — was funded by the provincial government. 

“This was a sorely needed place,” Rush said. 

“All being together makes it so efficient that we could see more patients in this time than we could see otherwise.” 

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