Canada’s Manitoba Government has announced measures to address long wait times in emergency departments in Winnipeg, Selkirk and Brandon.

Manitoba Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara announced an initial investment of C$2.75m to hire more allied health staff and hospital case coordinators.

Asagwara said: “By adding positions for physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, healthcare aides and hospital case co-ordinators, we can ensure Manitobans can return from the hospital to their home community safely, reducing weekend bottlenecks in hospital emergency departments in Winnipeg, Brandon and Selkirk.

“Our government’s top priority is to fix health care by reducing wait times and ensuring all Manitobans have timely access to care close to home.”

The move is expected to facilitate the extension of patient discharges from five to seven days a week.

It also aims to address overcrowding by increasing capacity and ensuring timely patient discharges.

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Hospitals in Manitoba currently only have enough staff to discharge patients during the week, meaning many patients spend more time in the hospital than is necessary.

This has resulted in overcrowding and higher wait times in emergency rooms and urgent care centres.

Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg acute care services executive director Jennifer Cumpsty said: “Increasing the capacity of social workers, physiotherapists and other allied health workers will support the extremely important roles they play in discharge planning and patient flow, ensuring more patients have the necessary support in place to be safely discharged in a timely manner.

“This investment will enhance the discharge process for these patients, improving patient flow throughout hospitals and helping to address congestion in emergency departments and urgent care centres.”

The Manitoba government plans to hire more care providers through strategic recruitment efforts in collaboration with frontline staff, increasing the healthcare system’s capacity by creating more available beds and staff positions.