Construction is now underway on a new renal unit in Steinbach. Manitoba Health Minister Audrey Gordon made a stop in Steinbach Monday morning to officially announce the start of construction.
Last October, the province announced a $32 million investment at Bethesda. In addition to providing space for more surgical capacity and upgrading the pharmacy, the investment also includes construction of six dialysis stations to establish renal services in the community.
The new renal services at Bethesda follow a feasibility study and review that looked at the number and frequency of patients travelling outside the community for dialysis treatment. Gordon says there are currently 23 hemodialysis patients living in the southeast who could benefit from the new, six-station unit at Bethesda.
"The start of construction at Bethesda Regional Health Centre brings us one day closer to reducing the need for those living in or near Manitoba's third largest city to travel elsewhere for care while providing the site with the necessary capacity to continue growing in the years ahead."
Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen says this is an important announcement for not only Steinbach but the entire region. It is an announcement that he says they have been awaiting for many years.
"There were many efforts including petition efforts that were done," notes Goertzen. "Local residents asking for this service and Minister Gordon thank you for being here to officially announce construction and that those requests are being answered."
Goertzen notes once the unit is complete, residents from the southeast will no longer need to make the journey to Winnipeg for this service.
"It will eliminate their need to travel to other cities multiple times per week to receive dialysis," notes Dr. Mauro Verrelli, Medical Director for Manitoba Renal Program. "Saving them time and energy, and keep them close to the network of family and friends they rely upon for support."
Construction of the renal unit is phase one of the significant capital project at Bethesda. According to Jane Curtis, Chief Executive Officer for Southern Health, construction of the renal unit should be complete by next summer.
Curtis acknowledges the challenges provincewide when it comes to staffing within the health sector. She notes they are looking at different recruitment and retention strategies to ensure they are building a good workforce and able to care for these expanded services.