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MAHCP President comments on critical incident at HSC’s Crisis Response Centre

On May 11, yet another terrible and tragic incident unfolded at the HSC Crisis Response Centre, a centre that opened in 2013 as a central access point for adults in crisis. Patients are not admitted, but they may need to stay there while awaiting transfer to a psychiatric facility.

In a powerful story this past weekend in the Winnipeg Free Press, we heard about the current state of the CRC, from staff exhaustion, burnout and fears for personal safety, to concerns about a long-running clinician staffing insufficiency and patient safety.

“Clinical staffing levels have been stagnant since the Centre opened in 2013, despite increasing acuity of needs and the mental health impact of the methamphetamine crisis,” said Jason Linklater, MAHCP President. “CRC staff have been asking for years for additional clinicians, as well as for one more security guard, to address the growing needs and bolster safety. These are patients in crisis, and these working conditions aren’t acceptable.”

In the 2022-23 fiscal year, the crisis response centre and crisis stabilization unit cared for about 13,800 people.

“The overriding issue is the level of staffing for clinicians, which is not anywhere near adequate to meet the growing demand for crisis services, nor is it safe for staff or individuals seeking help. More clinicians would mean a safer environment for everyone. A robust security presence and measures like locked doors will always be needed, but having adequate clinician staff would mean that more situations could be de-escalated without the need for enforcement.”

MAHCP is calling for immediate investment in the system to ensure care is available to those living with mental health and addiction issues, and that those who do this difficult work every day are supported. 


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