Patient transfers possible in Manitoba during respiratory virus season: Shared Health

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Shared Health is taking steps to ensure non-COVID health services are maintained for Manitobans in the next several weeks, which could include transfers to other hospitals across the province.

The organization said protocols to improve patient flow are being started to deal with, "increasing pressure in the coming weeks," such as the potential rise of COVID-19 admissions, as well as the start of respiratory virus and influenza seasons.

"These protocols, which are somewhat similar to those used pre-COVID to alleviate pressure during periods of increased patient demand at specific sites, will identify and potentially transfer stable patients within our most acute hospitals to other facilities that can provide care," a spokesperson said in a statement on Friday.

Shared Health noted this could include moving patients to other health regions.

"This protocol, which began being implemented today, may include transferring some patients in Winnipeg to appropriate facilities in other health regions."

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, addressed the changes at a news conference on Friday, noting this is all about making sure the health-care system is prepared.

"We want to ensure all Manitobans are available to receive the care they need and one of the best ways to do that is to ensure the person receiving the care is in the right place in our system," said Roussin.

Shared Health said hospitals throughout the province have the capacity along with skilled staff to address a variety of health conditions.

"Clinical teams are carefully matching the care needs of any patient identified as appropriate for transport, with the services and skilled staff at the receiving site."

The spokesperson said patients and their families are being told about these protocols.

"We recognize this can be unsettling and disruptive, and we will do our best to communicate plans as soon as they are made to support patients and families through the process."