News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

July 27, 2022

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES RETINAL SPECIALIST PILOT PROJECT IN DAUPHIN

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Strengthening Health Care by Providing Care Close to Home: Gordon

DAUPHIN—The Manitoba government is launching a new pilot project to bring retinal specialists to Dauphin once a month to provide care for residents in the community and surrounding region, Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced here today.

“Manitobans living in the Parkland region currently have to travel to Winnipeg to access a retinal specialist, which creates an unnecessary financial burden and additional stress for the patient and family,” said Gordon. “To have a specialist travel to Dauphin once a month to provide services at Ashcroft Vision Care will help reduce out-of-pocket expenses for these patients and families, strengthen health care in the region and ensure the same level of care, closer to home.”

The minister noted the new program will be especially beneficial to patients who must travel to Winnipeg once a month for injections and currently face barriers due to a lack of access to care close to home including limited transportation options and additional expenses. These patients often cannot travel alone, so travel and accommodation costs present an additional financial burden for families.

The Manitoba government will cover travel expenses and supply costs to support the project. Ashcroft Vision Care, located in Dauphin, will provide space for the retinal specialist to perform procedures in one of their clinic rooms.

“There was increased concern and anxiety expressed by our patients, particularly over the past two years, regarding travel to appointments in Winnipeg,” said Kara Vanderheyden, optometrist, Ashcroft Vision Care. “We couldn’t be more thrilled for this project and grateful Dr. Josh Manusow and colleagues are travelling to Dauphin to care for patients here.”

“We are a group of ophthalmologists from Winnipeg that specializes in retinal diseases,” said Manusow, vitreoretinal surgeon, department of opthamology, Rady faculty of health sciences, University of Manitoba. “We are excited to travel to Dauphin to provide care to patients that currently must travel to Winnipeg regularly and look forward to serve 60 to 80 patients each visit when the project begins this fall.”

Retinal specialists diagnose retinal diseases and treat a wide variety of eye conditions including age-related macular degeneration, hereditary diseases of the eye, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment and cancers of the eye. They also treat patients who have experienced severe eye trauma.

This pilot project is in alignment with Manitoba’s Clinical and Preventive Services Plan’s goal to provide care closer to home, the minister noted, adding this project is expected to run over the next year to evaluate its effectiveness and impact on patient care.

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