For nearly 60 years the Weyburn General Hospital has served the medical needs of Weyburn and the surrounding area. However the current facility is becoming increasingly antiquated as it does not meet several modern standards.
For nearly 60 years the Weyburn General Hospital has served the medical needs of Weyburn and the surrounding area. However the current facility is becoming increasingly antiquated as it does not meet several modern standards. Currently getting a new hospital built in Weyburn is a priority of the Sun Country Health Region board.
"It's extremely important that Weyburn gets a new hospital. Our current building has far exceeded in what it can provide," said Marga Cugnet, interim CEO for Sun Country. "We do most of our work on an out-patient basis. The building was designed to treat in-patients in the 1950s."
After the official unveiling of the plans for the new health centre in Radville, the formulation of plans and raising of funds for the new hospital was the top priority of the Sun Country Health Region board of directors.
"The region has about $600,000 in a trust for the new hospital, but this is only a drop in the bucket. We need to raise $12-13 million for the new hospital," said Cugnet.
The Weyburn Hospital Foundation is doing their part to try to help raise money for the new hospital. Recently the Ulterra Presents the Graham DeLaet Charity Golf Tournament in Support of the Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation raised approximately $310,000 for the foundation. The Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation was formed in late 2008 and so far has raised around $3.5 million of their $12 million goal. This amount makes up the 20 per cent share of the cost the community must cover for the new hospital.
According to Cugnet, the current general hospital is not up to adequate standards for the patients or the staff. Recently $100,000 was spent on upgrading the central sterilizing area. This figure does not include the cost of labour. The current hospital also lacks air conditioning, which makes controlling the humidity a challenge. This is important because if the humidity is not right in sterilizing areas when the equipment is being wrapped after sterilization, the chances for contamination rise.
Further staff concerns include space issues. Currently there are three stretchers in the emergency room, so patients don't have privacy while in the ER. This also increases the risk of patients coming into contact with other ailments. The confined space also makes it harder for the staff to do their work.
"It makes emergency patient confidentiality almost impossible," said Cugnet.
Plans for the new hospital are currently in the process of being made, the changes that will be included in the new hospital are sure to be an improvement for both the patients and staff when compared to the old hospital.
"Everything will be built to be accessible for people with disabilities, like washrooms and lifts, and it will be done according to modern building codes. More bathrooms will also be included because it is unacceptable that three to eight patients sometimes must share a bathroom. Some old bedrooms have been converted into bathrooms, but it's not enough," said Cugnet.
"There will also be negative pressure rooms for people with respiratory infections. This ensures no bugs are carried out in the air, and into the rest of the hospital," said Cugnet. "Currently we have an uncovered ambulance entrance to emergency, so the paramedics have to shield patients from the elements as best they can. In the new hospital this entrance will be covered."
The most recent fundraiser for the hospital foundation was the Opportunity Road Race, which was held in Weyburn on Saturday. All proceeds from this event will be donated to the foundation.
"It's a struggle to keep putting money into the old hospital. The building is really starting to show its age. Not even a bucket of paint is doing much anymore," said Cugnet.