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December 14, 2018

Mental health Centres of Excellence in Winnipeg will facilitate better health care sooner for patients

Newly renovated mental health in-patient units at Victoria Hospital will welcome their first clients next week, representing a significant milestone in the planned reorganization of mental health services in Winnipeg.

Victoria Hospital recently underwent $7 million in renovations, as the facility prepares to become one of three Centres of Excellence for Mental Health within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. The expanded mental health in-patient units at Victoria Hospital, which can now accommodate 75 clients, are part of a system upgrade and reorganization that will see the facility join Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital as Winnipeg's Centres of Excellence for Mental Health, offering the full spectrum of care to mental health clients.

"The consolidation of on-site treatment and counselling spaces will enhance the effectiveness and timeliness of care for Manitobans who need it," said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen. "These improvements, which are based on best practice and respond to recommendations made in a variety of reports, show our commitment to transform Manitoba's health-care system into one that is more accessible and provides more consistent levels of care."

All Winnipeg emergency and urgent care departments will continue to offer care to clients who present with mental health concerns, and will have new patient pathways created to accommodate consults at those sites.

"Consolidation of mental health inpatient beds to three sites will ensure that patients and families receive the highest quality and standardized mental health across the three sites," said Jitender Sareen, Medical Director of the WRHA Adult Mental Health Program. "It is important for people to know that high quality, community mental health services remain available across the city, including in the Grace Hospital and Seven Oaks Hospital areas."

As part of the WRHA's Healing our Health System plan, adult mental health in-patient services in Winnipeg will now be consolidated at the three Centres of Excellence. By concentrating specific services in the right locations, sites can develop areas of focus and provide more effective and timely patient care. This move enhances on-site access to psychiatric consultations, provides better access to on-site treatment and counselling spaces, and reduces the need for client transfers between facilities.

The changes affect only adult mental health services. There has been no change with respect to child and adolescent services.

The renovation at Victoria Hospital will facilitate the relocation of 54 existing in-patient beds from Seven Oaks General Hospital and Grace General Hospital to the facility. In-patients from those facilities will begin making the move on Dec. 18, along with clients who will also be moving from existing units at Victoria Hospital into the new space. This mobilization of patients and staff will be the largest such mobilization in the WRHA's history.

The renovated space at Victoria Hospital has been constructed to upgraded standards, and will provide a more comfortable environment for clients and their visitors, to better serve clients' needs.

"This is another important piece of the Healing our Health System Plan" said Lori Lamont, Chief Operating Officer for the WRHA. "While we still have work to do, across the system we are now seeing real indications of improvement, which is exactly what these changes are all about. None of this would be possible without the hard work of all our adult mental health staff and physicians, and their total dedication to providing the best care possible to the clients they serve."

The WRHA Adult Mental Health program provides an integrated and comprehensive range of mental health services and supports across the health care continuum that promote recovery. Through collaboration and partnership across various health, social service and community sectors, the program strives to promote mental health and well-being for all, to reduce inequities and the impact of mental health problems, and to work towards sustainability of mentally healthy individuals and communities.

The program provides a range of mental health services in both community and hospital settings, and is committed to providing a responsive and inclusive system aimed to restore, promote and maintain mental health and well-being for the Winnipeg population.