New hospital is needed and welcomed for city

Weyburn This Week editorial

With the announcement of the new site for Weyburn’s integrated health care facility, people may well wonder if the new hospital is needed, or if the location is a good one.

The answer to both questions is an unequivocal “yes”: Weyburn needs this hospital, and the location is good, although some logistics may need to be addressed in the coming years.

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Both patients and staff of the Weyburn General Hospital know all too well the need for a replacement facility, and anyone who has spent time in the current hospital will know this to be true.

As Premier Scott Moe pointed out, the current hospital was built the year television first came to Canada in 1952, and was structured according to the standards of care of that era. It did serve its purpose well, but the standards of care have changed a lot and the old building is not in good shape any more.

A longtime health care advocate, Marga Cugnet, who has worked as a nurse in the Weyburn General and was the CEO of the Sun Country Health Region until all the regions were amalgamated into the Saskatchewan Health Authority, has long fought and argued the need for a new hospital.

As she pointed out after this new announcement was made on Friday, this development will be exciting for the staff as well as for the residents of Weyburn and the surrounding towns and RMs. As they work and provide health care day in and day out, don’t they deserve to have a good facility to work in?

In regard to the location, most of the health care services currently available in Weyburn will be centralized and integrated into the new facility, including the ambulance service currently on East Avenue, the primary care clinic currently in the MNP building downtown, and the public health and mental health facilities now in the Community Health Building on the former Souris Valley grounds.

In addition, a helipad for the STARS helicopter will be a part of the new facility, and it is located near to both the Tatagwa View and Weyburn Special Care Home facilities.

A possible issue is the location of the new Legacy Park Elementary School on Fifth Street, and the Weyburn Comprehensive School on King Street. If an emergency necessitates the ambulance to go out, hopefully it’s not during the congestion of after-school traffic on either of those streets.

That said, this location is near to Highways 35 and 13, and on 13 out to Highway 39, so access out of the city is close at hand. A possible solution might be building a “Ring Road” type of roadway west around Riverwood out to Highway 39 — but that’s another project for another day. Meantime, we should celebrate the good news of this new health care facility.