Sunday November 23, 2014

EDITORIAL: Need for hospital highlighted again

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Weyburn was once again host to a successful major fundraiser golf tournament to benefit the Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation. Begun by Weyburn’s own Graham DeLaet, now on the PGA Tour and the top Canadian golfer in the world, the tradition has been carried on in recent years by Weyburn’s Brendon LaBatte, who last year won a CFL award and helped the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the Grey Cup championship.

In both cases, extraordinary athletes from our city have loaned their name and fame towards helping raising funds for a very worthy cause: a new acute-care hospital for Weyburn.

If anyone has doubts about what the need is in Weyburn, they would only need to stay in the hospital as a patient, or perhaps have a tour of the facility; in addition, a recent facility assessment determined that about $12.4 million in repairs are needed at the Weyburn General Hospital, just from the needs that currently exist in the aging facility.

One of the factors with that is the Sun Country Regional Health Authority has had a request in Saskatchewan Health for many years now to replace that facility with a new acute-care hospital, and the Weyburn Hospital Foundation was established to help fill that need; prior to the golf tournament and fundraising banquet, held on Thursday, the Foundation raised over $15.5 million towards their goal of $20 million, indicating the community is behind the facility as they believe (rightly) there is truly a need for a new facility.

It’s important that that community support is there, as the government will look at that as one of the factors in deciding what the next capital priority should be for their support.

More importantly, the provincial government needs to see that the need is here. From that facility assessment report, it is true that some other facilities in the province have significantly more that needs to be done, but for the Sun Country Health Region, this was the facility most in need, with the Community Health Services building also high on the list for the region. The hospital, as it provides acute care services for the city and a large part of the Weyburn region, should be considered much more important in terms of priority.

The assessment report by itself may not be enough for a new hospital, but the community need, and support for the facility, should be enough to bring it up on the priority list.

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