Concordia ER closure delayed
Public pressure plays part in keeping space open
By: Sheldon Birnie
Posted: 03/16/2018 9:48 AM
The provincial government’s decision to delay the closure of Concordia Hospital’s emergency room has sparked some fresh debate in the legislature.
On March 14, Elmwood MLA Jim Maloway took time to admonish the government’s decision to close the Concordia ER.
Maloway has been a vocal opponent of the closure of the Concordia ER since it was announced last year. He and city councillor Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) have been behind a campaign that has seen thousands of yellow signs opposing the closure of the ER distributed across northeast Winnipeg.
According to the province, the closure of the Concordia ER was changed from April 2018 to April 2019 because of delays to the upgrades at St. Boniface Hospital. Once complete, the St. Boniface ER will handle the bulk of the emergencies currently dealt with at Concordia.
However, Maloway believes that public opinion is not behind the government’s decision.
“There’s been a pretty big backlash, a lot of blowback from this issue” Maloway said.
In April 2016, when the province first announced its strategy for streamlining health care across the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, which included closing Concordia’s ER, Maloway told The Herald, “The Filmon conservatives tried to close Concordia about 20 years ago, but there was such an uproar that they just walked away.”
Maloway believes, if public pressure continues, that will be the case again.
“They’ve set this up to give themselves out,” Maloway said. “When you’re in the government, in the year before the election you don’t want any bad news. If anything, they’re going to be ramping up spending, and not want to take on controversial issues like this one.”
In his address to the legislature, Maloway credited the “Keep Concordia ER Open” campaign with influencing the government’s actions thus far.
“Our signs and effort,” he said,”have some effect on this result.”
Rossmere MLA Andrew Micklefield, however, was not buying Maloway’s argument.
“The restructuring of health care delivery in Winnipeg is being guided by health care experts and being phased in to ensure patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time,” Micklefield wrote in an email to The Herald. “It is those health care experts that are guiding this restructuring, not Jim Maloway.”