EDITORIAL: Write a letter, ask for a new hospital

Health care needs in Weyburn are growing as the population and business base continues to grow and expand, but there is a real situation developing that may have a bigger effect on further growth than almost anything else.

To an extent, the growth will continue simply under the momentum of the local economy; more population are coming in to the city to fill the job vacancies and opportunities, and businesses and industries are seeking to grow and expand along with the rest of the southeast area.

One of the basic needs for the city, and indeed for any growing population, is for accessible, good quality health care. The situation has developed, however, where local doctors are at their maximum limit and are no longer taking new patients. Some patients, in fact, have been told to go to another community to find a doctor. And to put pressure on the local health region and the city and area, two doctors just announced they are leaving as of June 1. The doctors really can't be blamed; after all, they have the right to live and practice where ever they wish. However, the situation remains, doctors in Weyburn deserve to have the proper facilities with which to treat their patients.

Thus, a pressing need in the city is for a new hospital; the Weyburn area has long known of this need, and thus the Weyburn Hospital Foundation was formed with the express purpose to do local fundraising towards the building of a new acute-care hospital. Currently, the foundation has identified or raised over $14.5 million towards the goal of around $20 million for the community's share of a new hospital. The balance of the cost, 80 per cent, along with the official decision to go ahead with a new hospital, rests with the provincial government, and in particular the ministry of Health, of which our own MLA, Dustin Duncan, is the current minister.

So the question is, are we in fact getting a new hospital? If we had a good, and new facility for our doctors to work out of, this would in turn help in the efforts to attract new doctors to our community, to provide the quality health care that local residents expect and need to have - including a maternity ward!

Local residents need to take up this need and put their voice forward, with calls, letters and e-mails to our MLA and minister, to the premier, to the editor, wherever your voice can be heard; this is time for our voice to be heard on this issue.

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