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Those who require hospitalization for mental health issues will now go to one of three main centres in Winnipeg. 

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), along with the provincial government, announced today it is moving 54 in-patient beds from the Grace and Seven Oaks General hospitals and consolidating them with the beds at Victoria Hospital. 

To prepare for the switch, Victoria Hospital underwent $7 million in renovations and has expanded to now accommodate 75 clients. 

"The Vic becomes one of three Centres of Excellence for mental health within the WRHA that will offer the full spectrum of care to mental health patients," provincial health minister Cameron Friesen said. "This change will allow the WRHA to expand on-site treatment and counselling for patients and will allow for better on-site access for psychiatrists." 

Jitender Sareen is the medical director of the WRHA Adult Mental Health Program and says mental health supports will still be available at every hospital in the city, but those who require longer-term treatment will go to Victoria Hospital, St. Boniface Hospital or the Health Sciences Centre. 

"Nine out of 10 people suffering from mental health or addictions issue do not require hospitalization, so this consolidation will not affect the vast majority of people dealing with these issues," Sareen said. "Community-based mental health services, self-help agencies and crisis services will continue to be available throughout the whole city." 

"Even the hospitals losing their in-patient beds will still give access to psychiatrists and mental health professionals." 

A WRHA release states the consolidation will allow for more focused treatment and will reduce the need for client transfers between facilities. 

The new beds at Victoria Hospital will open on Dec. 18, 2018. 

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