A pilot project is being launched that focuses on freeing up paramedics sooner after they drop off patients at hospitals.

The project will operate at the Misericordia Health Centre.

Patients with non-life threatening injuries, such as lacerations, animal bites and broken bones, will now be brought to the urgent care department at the centre.

"We'll in essence be able to take them to the centre that's specialized in the care that they require and that will be a huge benefit for all parties involved," said Christian Schmidt, deputy chief of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

"The ambulance will be transferring the patients from a stretcher to a wheelchair at the front door," said Dr. John Reda, chief medical officer at the Misericordia Health Centre.

Paramedics said they're happy about the changes.

"It's going to radically change how we respond to calls," said Chris Broughton, president of the paramedics' union in Winnipeg.

In September, the paramedics union called for more ambulances and said the city faced a shortage with paramedics sometimes tied up for hours at hospital while dropping off patients. Broughton said more ambulances will still be needed, but hopes the pilot project continues.

"Hopefully we'll be able to move further into other destinations like walk-in clinics and doctors' offices," said Broughton.

Health officials said they want to measure the number of patients coming into the centre and see if those numbers lighten the load for emergency rooms across the city.

- with a report from CTV's Jillian Taylor