Winnipeggers urged to use walk-in clinics to ease wait times in ERs

With people waiting hours to get care in Winnipeg’s emergency and urgent care departments, the health region’s top doctor is urging people to consider visiting walk-in clinics instead.

“Wait times are a really complicated issue, and we got a lot of things that we need to be working on at the same time to address them,” Dr. Joss Reimer, the chief medical officer of health for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, told CTV Morning Live’s Nicole Dube.

Reimer said staffing vacancies is one of the biggest issues.

“Our staff are fantastic, they are working so hard. They are really committed to providing the best care to Manitobans, but when you don’t have enough of somebody anywhere is going suffer, and we are seeing that across the country with wait times being longer everywhere in Canada.”

Reimer said the WRHA is expanding the hours at all five of the Winnipeg Walk-In Connected Care Clinics by Nov. 1, and is calling on Winnipeggers to head there if they don’t need urgent or emergency care.

Hours at the clinics will be expanded to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Reimer said right now, about 40 per cent of people who visit an ER or urgent care centre could be getting their care at a walk-in clinic.

“Even if we could get a quarter or half of those folks moving – just the better experience they would have,” she said.

To help people know where to go to get care, the WRHA has launched the My Right Care website. The website includes the average wait times for clinics, what you should consider going there for, who will provide care, and what the hours are.

“We want people to be thinking about that website when they need care that maybe doesn’t need something like an emergency room.” 

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