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Interlake-Eastern RHA working with physicians to plan for summer emergency room coverage

Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (RHA) is working in consultation with physicians and staff over the next few weeks to have resources in place to support emergency services this summer. Recently, physicians providing emergency room coverage in Interlake-Eastern RHA outlined their intent to withdraw support for nurse managed care effective May 1. According to CEO, Ron Van Denakker, the RHA has been working closely with physicians on a plan moving forward.

“Right now, we are in consultation with physicians and will be for the next few weeks to determine our exit strategy from nurse managed care. Until we have reached an agreement with physicians in our region and communicated that plan to staff and communities, there will be no change in the delivery of our emergency department services,” says Van Denakker.

Nurse managed care was adopted in 2013 as a short term solution to doctor shortages in the region. The practice allows emergency rooms to remain open without a physician physically present. When a patient presents to a nurse managed care site, the nurses triage patients as they normally do in the emergency room. Nurses, in consultation with physicians then assess if the patient can be treated by a nurse or must be transported to a hospital with a physician present.

“Phasing out nurse managed care is a step towards working with physicians and nurses to provide more reliable, accessible emergency care to our patients and will bring us closer to building a stronger foundation of health services in our communities,” says Van Denakker. “Interlake-Eastern RHA nursing staff and physicians have worked extremely hard to ensure nurse managed care’s safety and effectiveness. They have worked countless hours to keep emergency rooms open in our communities and for that we are truly thankful and we appreciate their efforts.”

Consultation with communities and staff is ongoing and will continue throughout the summer months, in addition to the region’s work with Manitoba Health, to establish a region wide emergency room sustainability plan.

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