I have been following the problems associated with emergency departments in Manitoba since 1994.Over the past twenty years I have been surprised by the sheer number of government pronouncements that a problem is fixed and everything will be fine. Regrettably this never seems to be the case.
In 1999 I read with amazement an article in the Globe in which the head of the WRHA stated they were in a position to solve hallway medicine. What was required was political will. I thought to myself what has Winnipeg done that the rest of Canada could learn from. The short answer, unfortunately, was nothing.
After the ER miscarriages fiasco in 2002 and then the death of Dorothy Madden in 2003 there was another committee, another review and yet another promise to fix crowding in Winnipeg.
Still nothing and then in 2008 the inexcusable death of Brian Sinclair. Still more promises and then the death of Heather Brennan.
in 2012 the WRHA made the bold promise to rein in ER wait times by 2015 but by early 2014 no indication that the targets would be reached.
one could be forgiven for developing a tin ear with respect to the WRHA and the proVincial governments assorted promises.
And now the deaths of two elderly patients discharged from the ER of Winnipeg’s Grace Hospital ER.
This just after chapter three of the Brian Sinclair inquest, an aboriginal man who died after a 34 hour wait for care
Several months ago the Manitoba government suspended STARS air ambulance service following some critical incidents involving deaths of transferred patients
Manitoba has also proven it is not immune to rural service disruptions. In 2012 seventeen rural ERs had closures because of lack of physician staffing
ER crowding, problems with processes of care and lack of standardized approaches, rural ER closures and problems with air ambulance; these are the manifestations of a system in trouble
But they also represent what threatens the integrity of emergency service delivery in all regions of Canada
What is happening in friendly Manitoba is a reflection of what is happening everywhere
No more promises, no more expressions of sympathy or condolence lets just fix the problems and not just on a provincial but a national basis
Time for a Royal Commission on emergency health services