Message from the Department Head

May 29, 2019

On March 1, the WRHA, St-Boniface Hospital and the University of Manitoba Rady Faculty of Health Sciences announced closure of the Family Medical Centre. This was very difficult news for many, as FMC has served the department well in its four plus decades. 

During this same period, we have also had tremendous growth and change both within our department (increase in number of residents, distributed teaching network) and within the primary care system (new primary care infrastructure, MyHealth Teams). With the release of Shared Health’s Provincial Clinical and Preventative Services Plan on the horizon, further change and growth in primary care is anticipated.

As an academic department, and one that aims to be socially accountable, it is important that we anticipate and adapt to needs. Ensuring that care is available close to home, is one of the reasons we have distributed training across the province with a new site opening in Selkirk in July 2019 and a site in Thompson anticipated in 2020. Team-based models are the future in health care, so in addition to training our future family physicians in environments where they can work alongside other health-care providers (nurses, NP, OT, pharmacists, dieticians, mental health counsellors), we will also need to adapt our clinical models to ensure our learners can engage in collaborative learning. Recognizing the important impact of social determinants on health, it is also important for us to collaborate across sectors, especially with the social services sector.

Redistributing urban residency training to Access Winnipeg West and Access Fort Garry will give us presence in each of Winnipeg’s six paired-community areas and its six MyHealth Teams, expanding our academic reach. This will also allow us to maximize our use of the city’s primary care resources (newer spaces, larger teams, integration with social services) and allow the academic department the opportunity to utilize more of its limited academic resources to support education, quality improvement, research and potentially address gaps such as support for FM maternity care.

Over the coming months, I hope we can further articulate the future vision – we have been given a frame, it will be up to us to fill in the picture.

In the next number of weeks, there is a great deal of work to be done. Some of the activities completed and areas of ongoing work include:

Physician faculty

New assignments for FMC physician faculty have been completed. As of July 1, 2019, Drs. Jamieson and Singer will be at Access Winnipeg West, Drs. Polan and Kvern at Access Fort Garry, Drs. Singh and Gray at Access River East, Drs. Rush and Sisler at KMC, and Dr. Katz will be joining Northern Connections. Dr. Reynolds will be continuing his maternity care work at KMC. Finally, but not least, Dr. Konrad has announced he will be retiring in July.

FMC staff

Labour union processes are ongoing. The majority of positions are being re-deployed across the within Primary Care in the Winnipeg Region with some positions being re-deployed within St-Boniface Hospital.

Residents

This week, the DFM postgraduate office will be finalizing incoming urban first and second year site assignments so that 2019-2020 schedules can be built.

Patients

Family Doctor Finder is assisting with new patient medical home assignments and is contacting all FMC patients individually to plan their transitions. Patients may choose to follow their existing FMC provider to their new site, or see another FMC provider who might be closer to home. 

New site development

We have started the work on logistics at new sites – space assignments, equipment, schedules and faculty development.

I recognize that change is difficult and stressful but I am confident of our capacity to build a high-performing academic primary care network in that advances patient care, education, and research, in Winnipeg and across our province.