On Friday of last week, I was honoured to be able to announce a major expansion of services for the Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach. The investment, which will be nearly $32 million, adds a number of services and acute care beds to the district hub for healthcare services in the southeast part of Manitoba.
The growth of Steinbach, Hanover and the entire southeast has put pressure on several different healthcare services in the area. The announcement recognizes this and plans for the addition of 23 new acute care medicine beds that enables Bethesda to support additional surgical capacity. As well, there is funding to help upgrade the in-facility pharmacy that allows for the delivery of chemotherapy services. As the regional hub for cancer services, this is an important investment.
The need for dialysis services in the southeast has long been talked about in the region. The $32 million in funding includes support for the construction of six dialysis stations at the Bethesda Regional Health Centre campus. The design work for these stations is now well underway and after design completion and tendering, construction is expected to begin in spring of next year. While there is still a bit longer to wait, this is an important step to ensuring that more patients needing dialysis will be able to get it closer to home. In addition, the announced funding will offer greater palliative care support.
The physical construction of this expansion, and the addition of services, will take place over next 2-3 years in different phases. I would like to thank Mayor Earl Funk and Reeve Stan Toews for participating in the announcement along with the Garth Reimer of the Bethesda Foundation which is always a strong partner in local healthcare projects.
During the past 18 months, much of the attention as it relates to healthcare has been understandably focused on the pandemic. However, all the emergency and chronic healthcare needs that were happening before the pandemic have continued on, even if they don’t get the same level of attention. This announcement recognizes that there are many healthcare needs that will continue to need support past the pandemic and that those services cannot all be located in Winnipeg. In fact, the provincial clinical services plan, which I was pleased to be part of during my time as Minister of Health, specifically looks at increasing services in many rural communities to help bring services closer to home for many Manitobans.
As the region continues to grow, their will be pressure placed on local services. The recent announcement of education capital together with the $30 million expansion of the Resthaven Personal Care Home, the $40 million event centre and now the $32 million Bethesda expansion are important to meeting these continued growth pressures.