Health Minister Audrey Gordon has announced the Manitoba government will provide almost $4 million annually in new investments to the Manitoba Pain Care Program to add capacity and improve the patient experience.
"Chronic pain management is about putting the patient at the centre of their care by giving them expanded and faster access to multidisciplinary treatments," says Gordon. "Our investment in the Manitoba Pain Care Program, which includes a new pain-care clinic at Selkirk Regional Health Centre, ensures care is available throughout the province so patients can receive a more comprehensive pain recovery path."
The phased restructuring and expansion of the pain program, formerly known as the Provincial Pain Management Program, will add resources and improve current clinical processes at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre (HSC) and Pan Am Clinic, and at the Brandon Regional Health Centre.
The new pain care clinic at Selkirk Regional Health Centre will be located at the outpatient clinic this year and will include a C-arm fluoroscopic X-ray system. A satellite pain care clinic in Thompson will benefit from increased resources and appointment times at the two Winnipeg sites.
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In the first phase, existing locations will schedule more patient appointments and perform additional procedures while recruitment is underway to add staff and clinical providers such as psychologists, physiotherapists and kinesiologists to existing multi-disciplinary teams. Clinical processes will be adapted and new equipment added, allowing patients to access care more quickly and, in some cases, closer to home. The investment will also increase the number of fluoroscopy-based pain procedures available to Manitobans by 5,400 per year.
"Our goal is to improve the entire experience for Manitobans in pain by reducing wait times, improving access and addressing their pain in ways that may limit their need for medications," says Dr. Chris Christodoulou, provincial medical specialty lead, anesthesia, and member of the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force steering committee. "We are excited at the opportunity to build a comprehensive pain care program to serve all Manitobans both today and into the future."
To better support patients and pain-care providers working at locations throughout the province, the newly expanded program will benefit from the expertise and experience of the team at the HSC Pain Care Clinic, leveraging leading practices as a model for allowing providers across the province to work to achieve a full scope of practice in this area.
"Today’s announcement that Interlake-Eastern residents will soon be able to access pain relief at a clinic in their health region and closer to home is welcomed," says Dr. Charles Penner, regional lead of medical services and chief medical officer, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (RHA). "Our staff and care providers welcome this investment in new services at Selkirk Regional Health Centre. We look forward to addressing the pain care needs of more Manitobans in Interlake-Eastern RHA."
Capacity at existing locations is expected to increase in the coming months, with the number of fluoroscopy procedures increasing almost immediately, the minister noted, adding that as staff are recruited additional appointments and services will be added, with the expanded program expected to be fully operational within the next year.
The Manitoba government established the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force in December 2021 to address waitlists for diagnostic and surgical procedures, and other related services. Supported by experts from across Canada, the team of respected local healthcare professionals identify and implement short and long-term solutions to improve surgical and diagnostic waitlists and make overall lasting improvements to Manitoba’s healthcare system.
For more information about the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/dsrecovery.