October 18, 2002

Construction Under Way for Community Access Centres

Centres to Offer Health and Social Services That Reflect Needs of Communities

Construction is under way in River East on a new Community Access Centre and plans are moving forward to establish other facilities in the communities of Transcona and Inkster.

The unique partnership between Manitoba Health, Family Services and Housing and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) will integrate the delivery of services such as primary care, community mental health, home care, employment and income assistance, employment services for persons with disabilities, and other children's special services. When completed, the sites will provide easy access to a wide variety of community-based services and programs.

Health Minister Dave Chomiak, Family Services and Housing Minister Drew Caldwell and WRHA CEO Dr. Brian Postl made the announcement today at Access River East which is being constructed at 975 Henderson Hwy.

"Access centres are an innovative way to deliver the services that communities need and want in order to stay healthy," said Chomiak. "This approach recognizes that people may need different health and social services to stay well. We are putting them together in an easy to access network that focuses on people and their community."

Access River East, located at Northdale Shopping Centre, was developed after consultations with the community. The site is easily accessible and served by several Winnipeg Transit routes. Manitoba Health will finance the interior construction of the access centre and it will be leased by the WRHA and Family Services and Housing. Construction of the $4 million facility is expected to be completed in one year.

The centre will have approximately 200 staff providing a wide range of services offered by the WRHA and Family Services and Housing. Most of the staff at Access River East will be relocated from various office locations in Winnipeg.

"Through these new Access Centres, Winnipeg residents can tap into a range of health and social services simply by dropping in," said Caldwell. "This is an example of how we can strengthen families and build communities by establishing one-stop, convenient and accessible service centres for people in their neighbourhoods."

Consultations on development of Access Transcona have been ongoing over the summer and fall. Final site selection for Transcona is expected early in the new year, with work anticipated to begin in 2003. Community consultations will begin this fall for Access Inkster. The long-term strategy will see facilities developed in Assiniboine South, Downtown, Fort Garry, Point Douglas, River Heights, St. Boniface, St. James-Assiniboia, St. Vital and Seven Oaks.

"Each Access Centre will reflect the different characteristics of Winnipeg's neighbourhoods and provide holistic services based on community needs," said Postl. "Each site will be unique and will deliver services based on what works best in a particular neighbourhood."

Access Centres reflect the province's primary health care policy framework that focuses on innovative ways to deliver accessible and effective health and social services. Primary health care encourages health promotion and illness prevention, and helps people connect to a range of health, social and community services and supports. Primary health service models are being developed in rural Manitoba that respond to the characteristics and needs of communities and regions.

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