The statement can safely and truthfully made: Weyburn needs a new acute-care hospital, and needs to deal with their current shortage of doctors, both in the city and in the surrounding areas.
The question naturally follows then: where, then, is the new hospital anyway?
The provincial government laid out a condition of sorts by saying the local community needs to raise 20 per cent of the cost (even though that cost isn’t even known yet), and the province will pay the balance.
Well, the Weyburn community has responded in an amazingly strong way, and just going by rough estimates, the Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation has raised most of what is required, even though it should be pointed out that this is purely an estimate until a real solid estimate can be put together with plans and drawings.
In addition, the need to replace the aging Weyburn General Hospital is not getting better with age — it needs replacing. Anyone who has ever toured it can see there are so many deficiencies that it’s beyond repair in a cost-efficient way.
The situation with doctors is also in a bad situation, as now there are situations where not only are no new patients being accepted by doctors, but some patients are being dropped by their doctor, even seniors who have ongoing medical needs. There is a need for a new primary care medical clinic, as well as for a new hospital; this is not an acceptable situation for the residents who are being affected.
There is a line in a famous movie, “If you build it, they will come …” True, this was about baseball, and a baseball field built in a corn field in Iowa — but the principle is the same. If there are adequate facilities put in place here, it will be easier to recruit doctors to come to Weyburn and help alleviate the backlog of people who are in need of a doctor’s attention.
So the ball is truly in the government’s court now; the community has been doing what it can to do its part, and moreover, the community is starting to suffer from the need, not only for a new hospital facility but for more doctors.
MLA Dustin Duncan, who is also the province’s Health Minister, has said that the government has to budget for this capital need along with what the community has to raise for its share; so, budget it, plan it, and do it, or the question will keep being asked: where is our hospital?