Press Releases

December 7, 2010

Ambulances arriving at Misericordia Health Centre

Stable patients will be transported to urgent care beginning December 8, 2010

Ambulances will start transporting stable patients to Misericordia Health Centre's Urgent Care tomorrow, part of a pilot project designed to reduce wait times for patients and off-loading times for paramedics.

The project - the result of a collaborative effort of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and Misericordia Health Centre - will mean patients with non-life-threatening conditions who don't need to be admitted to hospital, will be taken to the care facility more appropriate to their needs, Lori Lamont, WRHA Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, said.

"This will lessen demands in our Emergency Departments for the stable patients who previously waited in Emergency at the end of the triage scale and also for the paramedics who bring them," Lamont said, noting that during the initial implementation of the pilot project ambulances will take patients to Urgent Care only between 7:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.

It is expected that 10 -14 ambulances per day will bring stable patients with concerns such as animal bites and broken wrists to Urgent Care. Previously, these patients would have been taken to an Emergency Department.

"This is the first time ambulances in our city will be transporting patients to Urgent Care," said Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Chief Jim Brennan. "We're pleased as this initiative allows for patients to be taken to facility best suited to address their health care needs and it will free up our paramedics and get them back on our streets sooner to respond to calls."

Under the new system, stable patients will be taken to the triage desk of the Urgent Care Centre and once triaged, paramedics are able to leave.

"Urgent Care is excited to begin receiving ambulances," says Dr. John Reda, Misericordia's Chief Medical Officer and Urgent Care Director. "Not all patients using ambulances need to go to a full service hospital Emergency Department. Our Urgent Care health team is equipped to handle non-life-threatening conditions, including providing diagnostic tests such as x-rays or blood work."

All patients who arrive either by ambulance or walk-in at the Urgent Care Centre will continue to be seen by a doctor based on the severity of their health-care needs. The length of their wait will depend on the severity of sickness or injuries of other patients and the number of patients waiting at any given time.

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