Manitoba

Construction begins on new renal unit at Steinbach hospital

Dialysis patients in southeastern Manitoba will soon be able to receive care closer to home as construction has started on a new renal unit at Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach.

Unit is part of a larger $32M expansion and upgrade to health centre

Health Minister Audrey Gordon announces the start of construction on Monday. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

Dialysis patients in southeastern Manitoba will soon be able to receive care closer to home as construction has started on a new renal unit at Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach.

The unit will have six renal dialysis stations serving an estimated 23 hemodialysis patients living in the province's southeast catchment area, Health Minister Audrey Gordon said.

"The start of construction … 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," she said.

The unit is expected to come into service as soon as next summer but construction will continue into 2025 as part of a much larger $32-million expansion and upgrade of the health centre, first announced in October 2021.

The expansion project will provide space for 15 additional acute-care medicine beds and eight surgical beds as well as pharmacy upgrades for the delivery of chemotherapy services that will establish Bethesda as a regional hub for cancer services, said Gordon.

The funding will also be used to enhance the treatment of patients with a wide variety of needs, including palliative and end-of-life care, chronic and cardiopulmonary disease and women's health issues.

An artist's conceptual drawing illustrates what the new renal unit at Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach will look like. (LM Architectural Group/Province of Manitoba)

"The city of Steinbach and the southeast region of Manitoba … it has grown significantly over the last couple of decades," said Kelvin Goertzen, MLA for the area.

"With that growth comes great opportunity but it also brings with it its challenges, because there are more requests and needs for services."

The announcement comes as the province has been struggling to fill vacancies in health care, which has led to numerous closures in rural and northern areas.

"For sure, we're experiencing challenges across the province right now, but there's lots of things that are in motion," said Jane Curtis, CEO of the Southern Health region. The province has increased the number of nurse training seats, which will boost the capacity of the workforce, she said.

The province is also looking at recruitment and retention strategies in a variety of health-care fields "to make sure we're able to care for the expanded services," Curtis said.

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