Groundbreaking for new Women's Hospital

Breaking ground on the new Women's Hospital, from left to right: Arlene Wilgosh, President and CEO, Winnipeg Health Region; Minister Jennifer Howard; Health Minister Theresa Oswald; Charlyn Olfert and her 9 month old baby Sienna; and Adam Topp, COO, Health Sciences Centre.
Breaking ground on the new Women's Hospital, from left to right: Arlene Wilgosh, President and CEO, Winnipeg Health Region; Minister Jennifer Howard; Health Minister Theresa Oswald; Charlyn Olfert and her 9 month old baby Sienna; and Adam Topp, COO, Health Sciences Centre.
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New Women's Hospital captures public's vision for health care

The Manitoba Women's Health Strategy

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Friday June 24, 2011

A groundbreaking ceremony was held today to signal that construction will soon begin on the new Women's Hospital at the Health Sciences Centre.

In addition, the province also released a new Manitoba Women's Health Strategy, which will provide a foundation for improving the health and well-being of women in Manitoba.

"The new Women's Hospital has been designed with the needs of women, newborns and their families in mind and will offer an accessible, welcoming space to support family-focused care," said Health Minister Theresa Oswald.

"This new state-of-the-art facility will support moms, babies and their families through childbirth as well as serve as a centre of excellence for women's health, offering surgical and consultation services for women of all ages."

Manitoba Health and the Winnipeg Health Region undertook the broadest public consultations of any health construction project in Manitoba's history to help plan and design the new Women's Hospital, receiving advice and suggestions from hundreds of women and families as well as doctors, nurses, midwives and other health providers, said Oswald.

At over 300,000 square feet, the new $239-million facility will be more than three times the size of the current Women's Pavilion so it can accommodate what Manitobans asked for including 100 per cent private rooms large enough to accommodate patients' families as well as state-of-the-art specialty newborn care and a large increase in the number of beds to meet patient needs for years to come, the minister noted.

The new Women's Hospital will be located at the corner of William Avenue and Sherbrook Street and will be connected to the Children's Hospital and the Anne Thomas Building.

It will feature:

  • Family-centred mother and baby units including fetal assessment, obstetrical triage and Family Birthplace labour, delivery and recovery rooms;
  • An expanded, state-of-the-art neonatal intensive-care unit and intermediate-care nursery for newborns requiring specialty care and monitoring;
  • A women's surgical centre and in-patient gynaecological unit;
  • 173 beds, an increase of over 25 per cent from the current capacity, to meet the needs of a growing population in Winnipeg and across the province;
  • Exclusively private rooms with private bathrooms, which are larger, home-like and better able to accommodate patients and their families;
  • Expanded isolation rooms to ensure infection control and patient safety; and
  • Improved accessibility with a convenient patient drop-off area and underground parking.

"This Women's Hospital will enhance the experience that women and their families have while in our care," said Arlene Wilgosh, President and CEO of the Winnipeg Health Region. "It's exciting that construction is set to begin and when completed, we will have a positive health environment for both staff and the women they care for."

The new Women's Hospital won a 2010 national award of excellence from Canadian Architect Magazine, recognizing the innovative and warm design, which will replace the current Women's Pavilion built over 60 years ago on Notre Dame Avenue.

When the facility opens in 2014, it will also contain an innovative, made-in-Manitoba building technology called fabric framing, developed by the University of Manitoba's Centre for Architectural Structures and Technology.

Oswald noted, the new Women's Hospital is part of a larger plan for a new era of women's health and maternity care, which includes a new birth centre currently under construction in south Winnipeg, new maternity units recently opened at St. Boniface Hospital and a renewed Women's Health Strategy.

The 2011 Manitoba Women's Health Strategy, released today, complements the new Women's Hospital and recognizes the distinct health needs of women in the planning, implementation and delivery of health-care services, said Oswald, adding it seeks to address the broad range of women's health issues, ensuring awareness and responsiveness to gender differences in all aspects of health-care delivery in Manitoba including not only hospital care but also primary care, community services and long-term care.

Under the renewed strategy, various government departments will work together to address the social determinants of health including issues related to education and poverty, she said.

"The renewed Manitoba Women's Health Strategy will focus on improving the use of gender-based planning and gender-sensitive care throughout the health system, and increasing knowledge and awareness of women's health and needs," said Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard, minister responsible for the status of women.

Oswald noted that a series of 10 consultations were recently held throughout Manitoba to provide input to the renewed strategy, which updates the previous strategy released in 2000.

"A renewed Manitoba Women's Health Strategy will benefit all Manitobans because we know that healthy women mean healthy families," Oswald added.

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