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October 8, 2010

Region announces plans for ACCESS centre in St. James

Grace Hospital Foundation to own and manage new facility

The Winnipeg Health Region has announced plans for a new ACCESS health centre at the Grace Hospital in St. James - the fifth facility of its kind to be constructed in the city.

ACCESS St. James, set to open in 2012, will be unique among the city’s ACCESS centres in that it will be owned and managed by the Grace Hospital Foundation, with the Region funding medical staff and health programs. The other ACCESS centres are operated by the Region and are not located on hospital sites.

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"This may be the fifth ACCESS centre announced in Winnipeg, but we know this is first in our hearts," said Pearl McGonigal, chair of the board of directors of Grace Hospital Foundation and the chair of the board of directors of ACCESS St. James.

McGonigal envisioned the day when patients at the Grace Hospital, which is an operating division of the Winnipeg Health Region, can receive further care at the ACCESS centre upon discharge, for example in the area of diabetes education or in how to receive home care services.

"This is a doorway to a new era in service at the Grace and the new ACCESS St. James will complement the many services provided through the hospital," she said.

The 65,000 sq. ft. building will be built on what now is a parking lot at the east end of hospital property. The building will integrate primary care with community health and social services. Manitoba Family Services and Consumer Affairs will be located in the same facility.

"This site provides the opportunity to enhance the co-ordination of services to clients as they move from the community to hospital and then back to the community," said Arlene Wilgosh, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Health Region.

Health Minister Theresa Oswald and Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh were also on hand for the announcement on the hospital grounds.

"ACCESS Centres such as the one to be built in St. James take pressure off the emergency care system," said Oswald at the announcement. "A survey was recently done in the existing ACCESS centres about the services received by the people using them, and 95 per cent of the clients said their care was either very good or excellent."

The ACCESS centre concept is an effective way to provide a number of health, social and community services and supports for area residents, said Oswald.

"ACCESS St. James will be the fifth centre integrating and co-locating a wide range of services to provide a holistic approach to service delivery, accessible services and improved continuity of care within the community area," she said.

ACCESS centres allow health professionals to promote healthy living and illness prevention while offering timely treatment for patients and referrals to specialized care when needed.

"These centres can also partner with social services, housing authorities and education facilities to address the health of people in the neighbourhoods they serve," said Macintosh.

Plans for ACCESS St. James have been developed through a partnership between Manitoba Health, Manitoba Family Services and Consumer Affairs, the Winnipeg Health Region and the Grace Hospital Foundation.

Grace Hospital Foundation is constructing the base building and Manitoba Health's capital program is funding the tenant improvements. Construction is expected to begin in the next few months with completion set for 2012.

The other centres in Winnipeg are ACCESS River East, which opened in 2004 and ACCESS Transcona, which opened in 2007. ACCESS Downtown was opened this September and ACCESS Nor'West at Keewatin and Burrows is expected to be operational in 2012.

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