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New beds coming to Grace Hospital over coming months: health minister

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The provincial government is planning to add 31 new acute care beds at Grace Hospital over the coming year, with Manitoba's health minister noting the hospital has received a lot of attention for the wrong reasons.

Speaking at a news conference inside the Grace Hospital Wednesday, Manitoba Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara outlined a plan to clear congestion in the hospital.

"The Grace Hospital has had a lot of attention in recent months, but not the kind of attention that anyone wants necessarily, and not the attention that anyone who works here deserves," they said.

Asagwara said wait times are so long some people leave without ever being seen, causing tragic outcomes in some cases.

Currently, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is looking into the death of a patient who waited 33 hours in the Grace Hospital emergency department.

READ MORE: WRHA probing death of patient waiting 33 hours in Winnipeg hospital ER

Asagwara said they look at the emergency departments as a barometer for the overall health of hospitals.

"Our vitals have not been good."

To deal with this issue, Asagwara said the provincial government plans to add 10 new medicine beds and 11 new surgical beds to the hospital.

"We are going to take a phased-in approach to these beds coming online over the coming months, and after April we are going to add an additional 10 beds," the health minister said, adding in total the hospital will have 31 new acute care beds.

"While these beds alone aren’t the solution to the challenges that we are facing, they will help relieve some of the pressure."

The health minister said there are also plans to establish a new family medicine program at the Grace Hospital.

But they acknowledge that staff are needed to support these expansions. Last week the health minister announced a plan to spend more than $2 million to add allied health staff and hospital case coordinators to help reduce wait times in several emergency departments.

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