A new tool is available for Manitobans to find out how long they have to wait to receive care at Winnipeg clinics in an attempt to direct patients to appropriate care based on their needs.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has partnered with Medimap.ca, and will provide real-time information about wait times at walk-in clinics and Connected Care clinics.
“Adding in all of these other walk-in clinics, and displaying all of the options available to patients in one place, will make it easier for individuals to find the appropriate place to get care,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, chief medical officer with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
According to Reimer, the WRHA and Medimap analyzed hour-by-hour data for Nov. 2019. They found that approximately 21,000 patients with less urgent care needs visited emergency departments or urgent care centres during the month, where a median wait time of 2.4 hours was reported. Reimer said nearly half of those patients could have gone to a walk-in clinic, where the average wait time in the same timeframe was 40 minutes.
“We know patients with less acute problems are waiting for prolonged periods in the emergency departments in urgent cares,” said Dr. Shawn Young, CEO of the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. “And we know that these primary care clinics, walk-in clinics will improve the time to access care. So getting the patients to the right places for the right care is our priority.”
In September, the WRHA announced it would be expanding hours at Walk-in Connected Care clinics in an attempt to help reduce wait times in emergency departments, especially as hospitals are dealing with an increase in RSV and other respiratory viruses. The WRHA said overall visits to emergency and urgent care departments have risen to approximately 250 per week, around double the rate that was seen last November.
Young adds the problem won’t be solved overnight, but is hopeful the new map and solution will have an impact.
“It is going to be a long time before we can actually get back to the way things were pre-pandemic,” he said. “But we are pretty hopeful that bit by bit, month over month, we will slowly improve.”
Wait time information can be found here.
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