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Premier impressed, pleased with DRHC redevelopment

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A group of provincial officials, including Premier Brian Pallister and Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen, got an idea of what exactly $23.3 million buys, when they toured the nearly-completed redevelopment of the Dauphin Regional Health Centre emergency department, May 24.
“(It is worth) every penny. It is long overdue,” Pallister said following the tour of the facility, adding the government is finding ways to pay for priority areas.
“I said some time ago that there is no sacred cows and I mean that. In our home we have to find low priority areas to save money and apply it to high priority areas. This is a high priority area and so we found ways to do better internally instead of just going to the taxpayer and saying pay us some more money this year, next year and the year after.”
Started in 2017, the redevelopment of the local emergency department has involved multiple phases, beginning with temporarily relocating the department to allow for construction of a new, 16,000-sq-ft emergency department, three times larger than the original space.
That new space includes:
• an updated resuscitation/trauma care room;
• enhanced treatment, exam and observation rooms, which will increase efficiency in patient flow and work within the emergency department;
• a decontamination room;
• a special care unit for extended emergency care of patients;
• support space;
• an enclosed ambulance garage which allows patients to be moved directly from an ambulance into the emergency department without going outside or through public waiting areas;
• a new main entry to the health centre including a driveway; and
• a new pedestrian access ramp at the back entrance of the facility.
The increased space and redesigned physical layout also incorporates several recommendations from the Brian Sinclair inquest report including improving patient access to triage and providing direct access and visibility to the waiting room for triage nurses responsible for monitoring patients.
Noting some of the special design elements, the Premier said the emergency department and critical care area make it a better place to work.
“Making it brighter in some areas, making it more effective so it saves steps for people,” Pallister said.
“We appreciate the work of our health care workers, the work of our frontline workers. All our medical people want to work in a system where it is better for people. That is why they got involved in these caring professions in the first place, because they want to work in a system that delivers better care. And that is our focus, that is what we are after.”
Even though the new emergency department and special care unit will soon be operational, work will continue to demolish and reconstruct the front ramp area this summer. It is expected this final phase of the project will be completed in November.
Until that time, the temporary entrance between the hospital and community health building will remain as the main point of entry and exit.
When it is all done, Parkland residents will have access to top notch medical care in a state of the art facility, said Dauphin Mayor Allen Dowhan.
“This is an amazing addition to healthcare in our region. I was amazed at the thinking that went behind the facility. I never expected this,” Dowhan said following the tour.
“With a $23 million investment we are in with the times now. And especially our professionals - doctors, nurses and the residency program - benefits from all of this. But above all, the patient is being looked after here.”
The pending opening of the new emergency department is only the latest improvement made at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre. Last December, a new magnetic resonance imaging scanner began accepting patients, increasing access and reducing travel times for Parkland residents who require the diagnostic service.
It all adds up to better care for area residents, said Rural Municipality of Dauphin Reeve Ron Ryz.
“Anything that can service our local people better, I am very pleased,” Ryz said.
“I didn’t realize it was such a large undertaking. I am impressed with the use of natural lighting, work stations, the security and safety for the workers. I am very pleased to see this facility built.”
The renovation and expansion project is being completed by Horizon Builders Ltd. from Brandon.