Organizational priorities address issues of concern across the health region. These are the issues upon which the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority focuses its attention from a business perspective – in essence, just about everything we do should reflect our commitment to one or more of the following stated priorities. Every program and site is expected to incorporate strategies and actions to address these priorities.
Aboriginal Health Programs
Manitoba has an Aboriginal population of just over 150,000 people, representing 13.6 per cent of all Manitobans. Approximately 35 per cent of this population lives in Winnipeg. In fact, Winnipeg has the largest urban Aboriginal population in Canada, with Aboriginal people comprising roughly 8.6 per cent of its total population. The health status of Aboriginal people is well below that of other non-Aboriginal Canadians. Up to 40 per cent of urban hospital patients may be Aboriginal, and it is estimated that Aboriginal people use hospitals and medical services at a rate two to three times higher than that of other Manitobans.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority recognizes that an understanding of the historical and cultural factors affecting Aboriginal people is a key factor in developing appropriate health care services. As such, the WRHA established its Aboriginal Health Strategy in 2001 with the implementation of two regional programs: Aboriginal Health Services and the Aboriginal Human Resources Initiative. In 2006, the two programs amalgamated to form one comprehensive program, Aboriginal Health Programs.
Aboriginal Health Programs were developed in collaboration with the Aboriginal community, and today, oversee the provision of coordinated programming in the areas of direct health services, workforce development and cultural health education programs for health care staff in the Winnipeg Health Region. We continue to extend and refine our services to meet the evolving needs of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in hospitals, the community and in our workforce.
The safety of our patients, residents and clients is always a priority with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Our health care providers consistently strive to deliver care in a manner that is safe. Over the last decade, the issue of patient safety and prevention of adverse events has gained momentum internationally, nationally and locally. There has been a fundamental shift in the perception of how health care should be delivered, and the accountability of service providers to their patients and to the community as a whole. Today, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is recognized as a national leader in developing patient safety processes, initiatives and enabling transparency in health care service delivery. Recognizing that, Senior Management and our Board maintains that our Patient Safety Team, supported with effective resources and strategies, continues to be deployed to improve patient safety region-wide.
Wait Times and Access
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority works in partnership with Manitoba Health in addressing wait time and service access issues. Funds targeted to reducing wait times for selected surgical and diagnostic procedures have been received from Manitoba Health, and progress is monitored and reported to them on a monthly basis. Wait lists in the priority areas are continuously managed jointly with health programs in order to reduce backlogs and prevent the formation of new ones. Overall, waiting times have improved. While our efforts have concentrated on wait times for treatment, we are also addressing wait times for medical consultations and advancing strategies to enable prompt scheduling so we can provide patients and their referring doctors with dates on which they can expect treatment.
Workforce Wellness and Safety
Healthy staff who work in healthy workplaces provide better and safer patient care. There are approximately 28,000 persons working in the Winnipeg Health Region – each of whom contributes to the health and well-being of the people in the Winnipeg Health Region and those who use our services. Naming Workforce Wellness and Safety as an Organizational Priority recognizes the critical nature of the work that our employees do, and in tandem effort, addresses the issue of staff retention and recruitment. This priority helps ensure that these, and other emerging workplace concerns, are addressed on an ongoing basis.