The Government of Manitoba announced that work is underway to restore the Victoria General Hospital as a centre for health care in southern Winnipeg, with plans to open a new Victoria Hospital emergency room (ER), reopen the Mature Women’s Centre and build the Anne Oake Family Recovery Centre.

“For too long, people in south Winnipeg have gone without emergency care in their community after the previous government closed the Victoria ER,” said Premier Wab Kinew. “We’re fulfilling our commitment to build a new ER at the Vic. Our budget has the funds to begin that work, while also reopening the Mature Women’s Centre and helping to establish the Anne Oake Family Recovery Centre.”

As part of Budget 2024, the province is investing $635 million in capital projects for the health sector including the work needed to enhance the services at Victoria Hospital. A comprehensive evaluation of the capital project will take place, which includes preliminary design work, scoping and project costing. Construction of the new emergency room is expected to begin within two years, once staffing is secured, noted the premier.

“The best time to start on a difficult task – like reopening an emergency department – is today,” said Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Uzoma Asagwara. “We are moving forward with the groundwork to return emergency care and mature women’s care to the Victoria Hospital because local care matters, particularly when there’s an urgent medical need and time is of the essence. Residents of south Winnipeg will be able to have peace of mind knowing medical help is closer, plus this added capacity will take pressure off the entire system and help bring emergency wait times down.”

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The premier and minister noted work will also move forward in the coming year to make other upgrades at Victoria Hospital including the reopening of the Mature Women’s Centre for women and gender-diverse people, and the creation of the Anne Oake Family Recovery Centre. The Anne Oake Family Recovery Centre, an addictions treatment facility for women, will allow children to stay with women in treatment, helping to keep families together.

“Anne Oake spent her life caring for others. This Recovery Centre will carry her values forward in delivering addictions care for women,” said Scott Oake. “It will offer wraparound supports, like child care, to reduce barriers to entry so every person can access the care they need. It makes sense to pair our centre with the Victoria Hospital, a hospital that has been dedicated to women’s health care for decades. We’re proud to work with the Manitoba government to make this project a reality.”

Victoria Hospital’s emergency room was closed in 2017 as part of health-care restructuring led by the previous government, the premier noted. This also closed the Mature Women’s Centre.

Featured image: (Victorial General Hosptial)

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