A post to the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) social media page on July 25th, shared information about reductions in services and closed units. It stated:
As we approach the weekend, an SOS has come in from Boundary Trails Health Centre, the largest regional centre outside of Winnipeg and Brandon:
"This past weekend was a very scary reality check. This true nursing crisis is impacting everyone and the public seems to have no idea.
"We had to close our ICU due to critically short staffing.
"Our obstetrics unit that delivers close to 1,000 babies a year, covering a HUGE area, was put on diversion. This has never happened in the age of our hospital. If delivery was not imminent, they were told they had to travel to Winnipeg or Bethesda. How is that serving the people?
"Our ER also was critically short staffed - even with multiple 16-hour shifts being done.
"There are bed closures on all our wards due to lack of staff.
"Surgeries were cancelled this weekend because there was no anesthesia to cover.
"I am afraid. I am afraid that it will take lives lost, people dying from preventable and treatable causes. The nurses and doctors we have left are going to be gone if they continue to be in this helpless position, watching people around them dying when it doesn't need to be this way. What is our government waiting for in order to help change this??? If their loved one died because of lack of resources and staff I know the change would happen sooner.
"My question is when do the sirens get to come out of the closet so the public hears the screams?"
MNU confirmed this statement came from a nurse at BTHC.
Regional Lead Human Resources for Southern Health-Santé Sud Rene Oullette addressed some of these statements.
"Boundary Trails does not have an ICU. We have a Special Care Unit (SCU), and that Special Care Unit was temporarily suspended on July 16th and 17th due to a shortage of nursing, and during that suspension there were no patients in the SCU, and there was no transfer or diversion of any patient."
Regarding the Obstetrics closure, Oullette said this.
"The Obstetrics Unit at Boundary Trails was temporarily suspended on Saturday, July 16th from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM and then again on Sunday, July 17th from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM. From the information I received during that time, there was only one patient that was diverted to Brandon, and all postpartum patients remained at Boundary Trails. We had one Obstetrics Nurse on duty for triage and emergent deliveries. And so, the temporary suspension was due to a temporary nursing shortage."
He assured the public emergency surgeries would have been looked after that weekend.
"No surgeries are scheduled over the weekend. Only the emergent or urgent surgeries take place over the weekend as needed, and so staff were shuffled to ensure that if there were any urgent surgeries, there would be coverage if needed."
He praised the nursing staff for their efforts at this time and explained why these decisions were made.
"The nurses at Boundary Trails continue to go above and beyond, covering off shifts, and they are an excellent group of nurses. Unfortunately, we do have some nursing shortages that are compounded in the summer due to vacation leaves."
He had these final words to say about how to access the best care in a time of need.
"If residents have medical needs, continue to access Boundary Trails for emergent care. For less emergent or urgent care, we encourage the residents to contact their primary care provider or the medical clinic, and as always in the event of a medical emergency or an urgent situation, residents or members of the public should always call 911."
MNU declined to comment further.