A variety of factors over the past two years has led the CW Wiebe Medical Centre in Winkler to temporarily reduce urgent care hours.
Clinic Administrator, Jim Neufeld says an increase in workload at the Boundary Trails Health Centre for some physicians, is one component.

"All of the physicians that work here, or at least most of them also take care of things at the hospital, so there's been some ramped up services there and that's taking more of our physician time away. And, we also have three physicians that will be leaving us this summer as well."

Neufeld says those things combined have really stretched their ability to cover all of the services at the hospital and the clinic.

As the Pembina Valley continues to grow and new medical services are added, recruitment is a regular endeavour for the Medical Centre. Especially in light of the fact, that the clinic will be losing three doctors in the summer. Neufeld noted the loss of the three physicians will roughly affect a combined 2,000 patients who are losing a family doctor.

Neufeld says they are always looking for ways of bringing new people to the area, however, the last two years of the pandemic have changed how they would typically have interacted and connected with potential physicians. 

"That has certainly affected our ability to recruit over the last two years. We're hoping to see some changes in that regard going forward and things perhaps returning to an environment where we can again connect with those potential physicians for our area. And perhaps we need to make some changes to how we're connecting with people. So we continue to work at that, and that will be the solution for getting things back to services that we were servicing before."

Meanwhile, the reduced hours at Urgent Care will go into effect on Wednesday, June 1st.
Beginning Wednesday, weekday hours at Urgent Care will change to 8 am to 6 pm from 8 am to 7:30 pm.
Saturdays the hours will go from 8 am to 2 pm to 8 am to noon.

Neufeld says the hours will be in effect until at least September, at which time the situation will again be reviewed. He says ideally, they hope to be in a situation where they can go back to their old hours.