Input sought for new Neepawa health centre

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The province is seeking input from Manitobans on the new Neepawa Health Centre.

Over the next few weeks, the province is collecting feedback from the public and stakeholders to guide plan developers on the new design of the hospital.

It announced in a news release on Tuesday that input and opinions are being welcomed and encouraged from everyone the health centre will serve. That includes residents in the immediate and surrounding communities, Indigenous leaders and health-care experts, so the province can build a facility that is accessible, equitable and culturally sensitive, the release stated.

File Premier Heather Stefanson announces funding for a new hospital in Neepawa in December. The province is now seeking public input on the project.

Feedback is focused on early capital planning efforts, specifically on physical and environmental features including cultural spaces, wayfinding, proximity between outpatient clinics and parking accessibility.

The facility’s location and construction is being handled by Shared Health and the provincial government.

Neepawa town administration has been waiting for some time on word about when the location will be chosen and a firm construction start date, said chief administrative officer Colleen Synchyshyn.

Population growth in the town has been significant, with a 23.3 per cent growth between 2016 and 2021, according to Statistics Canada. A new health centre will help manage that growth.

“The new health centre will be a second industry here, so we need to make sure we have all the infrastructure in place, like housing needs,” she said.

“Right now, we are focusing on training needs to staff a place like this. It’s not just for doctors and nurses, but we have to make sure the dietitians, health-care aides and all the other people who make a health centre run, are in place by providing housing and an ability to get to the hospital.”

She said the town hasn’t received much information on the new health centre. The new location has yet to be determined, but town administration is hoping to hear in the next few weeks where the site will be so they can begin pre-planning infrastructure construction.

The current health centre needs to be replaced because of its aging infrastructure, Prairie Mountain Health chief executive officer Brian Schoonbaert said in a statement. This will build a stronger health-care system in the region to meet the growing needs of the population.

Shared Health didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Construction of a new health centre in Neepawa was announced last December. The $127-million facility will have space for at least 60 acute care inpatient beds, up from the 35 currently available in Neepawa.

The facility will also feature an expanded and modernized emergency department with a trauma room, stretcher bay and ambulance bay.

It will also have room for surgeries, diagnostics, palliative care, dialysis and chemotherapy.

Premier Heather Stefanson said in December the health centre is being built as part of the province’s clinical and preventative services plan. The government’s aim is to reduce the number of procedures people need to travel to Winnipeg for and is part of the province’s $812-million investment into improving health-care infrastructure across the province.

Construction is slated to be completed by 2025 and the new hospital is expected to be twice the size of the current Neepawa Health Centre. Anyone who wants to add their input for Neepawa’s Health Centre construction is asked to take a survey at https://bit.ly/39GeS44.

The province is also collecting feedback for plans to build the new health centre in Portage la Prairie at https://bit.ly/3wdV6EK.

» kmckinley@brandonsun.com, with files from The Brandon Sun

» Twitter: @karenleighmcki1

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