Three new operating rooms are coming to a Steinbach-area hospital.
The province announced the $30 million investment for Bethesda Regional Health Centre Friday, noting it will increase surgical capacity in the city and throughout the region.
“Local residents will know full well the challenges that we’ve had with operating rooms, and certainly those who are involved in those surgical procedures at Bethesda Hospital have talked to me about it for a long time,” said Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen, who made the announcement at a news conference on behalf of Health Minister Audrey Gordon.
Goertzen, who served as health minister from 2016 to 2018, recalled humidity issues in the hospital’s ORs that were so severe they had to be closed on sweltering days.
This expansion will include three operating theatres with a modern boom system for surgical and anesthesia equipment, a pre-operative consult room with 12 patient care treatment spots for pre- and post-operative care, and a new reception and waiting area for patients and family.
Kelvin Goertzen is pictured at an Aug. 28, 2023 news conference at Bethesda Regional Health Centre. (Source: Province of Manitoba)
The ORs bring the capital project’s price tag up to $64 million.
“The addition of three new operating rooms and the support services will enable us to expand the surgical program and bring us one step closer to meeting the needs of this growing community that we serve,” said Dr. Christo Minnaar, Bethesda Regional Health Centre’s chief of staff.
The ORs are in addition to a 2021 promise to add 15 new acute care medicine beds and eight surgical beds.
The Bethesda Foundation has also pledged $8 million towards the surgical unit and palliative bed expansions.
Construction began in August 2022 on the first phase to renovate a section of the hospital’s Community Services Building. This will add six treatment bays for renal dialysis, plus pharmacy upgrades to support chemotherapy services.
The province said the move will establish the facility as a regional hub for cancer services, and prevent those in the area undergoing dialysis from having to drive to Winnipeg.
That phase is slated to be completed by the summer, and new renal services are planned to launch in the fall.
“I feel this announcement is enormous for our community,” said Steinbach Mayor Earl Funk. “(Residents) will be able to come to Bethesda. They’ll be able to be close to home and get the health care that they’ve needed. For so many years, we’ve had to send them to other communities.”
Constructions on the overall project is expected to be finished by 2025.