Plans to build new health facility in Regina on hold
It appears plans to build a new health facility in Regina have been put on hold.
Three years ago, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall announced approval in principle for a centre in Regina that would provide outpatient surgery, diagnostic imaging, cancer care and other services not requiring an overnight stay.
Wall said the new Plains Surgery and Outpatient Care Centre would help ease pressure on the city's two hospitals, where overcrowding and waits for surgery are an issue.
But now, the government says there’s no need for another health facility in Regina, and if the project were to move ahead, it would likely be built by the private sector.
“I could see the concept moving forward but not necessarily being driven by the public sector, perhaps by the private sector,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said Tuesday.
Over the past five years, Saskatchewan's surgical wait list has shrunk dramatically, with 89 per cent of patients receiving surgery within three months.
In just the past year, the number of surgical patients in Regina waiting longer than three months fell from over 2,000 to just over 400.
“We’ve seen so much success using the private sector in delivering a lot of our services,” Duncan said.
“There may be a point where we will see the co-location of some of these services but I think we’re at a different place right now than we were before.”
But the opposition NDP says a new health facility is needed in Regina. It points to hundreds of people waiting longer than three months for surgery, and many more who are waiting for a family doctor or to get test results or time with a specialist.
“Those numbers might show that surgeries are happening sooner but the reality is there are many people who are still waiting a very long time,” said NDP health critic Danielle Chartier.
“This was about increasing surgical capacity in the public system but also about creating capacity for diagnostic testing like MRIs.”
When it was announced, the new centre was expected to cost between $50 million and $60 million.
It was to be located on Crown-owned land opposite the old Plains hospital, which became a campus for the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology.
Based on a report by CTV Regina's Dale Hunter with files from The Canadian Press