Some rural Manitoba emergency departments closed until further notice

Emergency departments at Prairie Mountain Health, Southern Health and Inter-lake Eastern Regional Hospitals are seeing closures - some for the long weekend and others even longer, including the Carberry Health Centre. Temi Olatunde reports.

The emergency department at Carberry Health Centre is temporarily closed until further notice.

Prairie Mountain Health announced Friday the interruption to emergency department services is due to staff shortages that continue to impact health care throughout the province.

More emergency departments in the Prairie Mountain Health region as well as the Southern Health and Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority were also closed over the long weekend, and some for even longer.

Town of Carberry Mayor Ray Muirhead says the town is in panic mode, as they’ve been trying to secure a doctor for months now.

“Our last doctor was signed on for a four-year term,” Muirhead said. “He came out from Winnipeg and his last day was yesterday.”

Muirhead says another doctor came out of retirement on a part-time basis but she will be leaving at the end of September.

The Carberry Health Centre is the closest hospital to the scene of the June fatal collision that claimed the lives of 17 people.

“It’s because of that tragedy that this government should have been proactive to making sure that rural emergency services are open and available for rural Manitobans,” Uzoma Asagwara, MLA for Union Station. “Instead this government did what it’s always done: they’ve continue to cut health care and they’ve failed rural Manitobans who depend on their health care.

“People are on the highways. Thousands of people are on the highways with their families and they should be able to depend on emergency services being available to them in their communities.”


CEO of Prairie Mountain Health Brian Schoonbaert says individuals can call the health centre to determine the nearest open emergency department, and all residents making 911 calls will be transported to the most appropriate open emergency department, if required.

Muirhead says they continue to work with surrounding communities to do the best they can, but he is concerned if an emergency were to occur, the closest locations to seek services are Brandon or Neepawa, which are about 30 minutes away.

“And we’re headed to harvest season right away, so there’s gonna be lots of farm workers, traffic, so on and so forth,” said the mayor. “That’s always cause for concern at this time of the year, the best of times, let alone without a local doctor. So that’s where we stand.”

Muirhead says they are the top of the list for getting a new doctor but don’t know when that’ll be. He says they are meeting with Prairie Mountain Health on Friday and hope to get some resolution.

Prairie Mountain Health say they are continuing efforts to actively recruit staff to ensure the temporary suspension of services at sites are as short lived as possible.

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