Carberry’s emergency department to reopen nearly a year after shuttering

The emergency department in Carberry, Man. is set to reopen after nearly a year without a doctor to service it.

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew announced at a news conference Friday the province has hired three new physicians, allowing the department to reopen at the Carberry Health Centre.

It was initially shuttered in September 2023 when the former physician’s contract expired.

Since then, residents have had to travel to the nearest emergency department in Brandon about 50 kilometres away.

The new physicians were hired on a rotating basis, and started May 10. However, emergency services were available as of April 27.

Kinew says the physicians are coming from Brandon and Virden, and service will be comparable to what was in place before the department’s closure.

He says the work to reopen Carberry’s emergency department will be instrumental in reopening others across the province.

“So many communities are up against it when it comes to the challenge of keeping the health-care services in your community so your community can stay strong,” he said.

Premier Wab Kinew is pictured at a news conference at the Carberry Health Centre on May 10, 2024. (Manitoba Government/YouTube)

The province says the new docs will also be able to work with those at Carberry’s long-term care facility and those receiving inpatient care at the health centre.

Carberry residents can also make appointments in the community once again for their primary care needs.

Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara says the new doctors are a game changer, but work is ongoing to continue staffing up in Carberry.

“It’s something that we know is going to take time, but today is an important step in the right direction, and it all starts with having more access to family physicians in communities just like yours,” they said.

‘In panic mode’

Loretta Oliver began working at the Carberry Health Centre in the 1970s. She says what was once a bustling facility has suffered over the decades.

“It has been at times so very disheartening,” she said.

Carberry Mayor Ray Muirhead says the community used to take having doctors to service the community as a given.

“When we lost our last doctor back in September, thank God for our nurse practitioners and our nursing staff, but we were in panic mode.”

The move fulfills a promise made by Kinew in the run-up to the last provincial election.

His government has also pledged to hire 100 new doctors in Manitoba this year by spending hundreds of millions of dollars towards staff recruitment, retention and training initiatives, including added funding for physician recruitment and upping medical residency spots by 38 per cent.

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