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$5 Million Invested Into DRHC Clinical Services

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The redevelopment of the Dauphin Regional Health Centre (DRHC) will continue thanks to a $5 million investment by the province to convert the temporary emergency department to a new endoscopy department.

In making the announcement at the Community Health Services building in Dauphin, Friday, Premier Heather Stefanson and Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon will not only create a dedicate endoscopy suite to allow up to 300 additional endoscopies to be performed at the site each year, it will free up space in the surgery department where the procedures used to be performed, creating opportunity to increase surgical capacity.

Additionally, the renovations will also include the relocation of the chemotherapy department and additional inpatient capacity.

It is all part of a continued commitment to improving health-care services for all Manitobans, Stefanson said.

“Our government has a bold vision for better health care that focuses on reduced wait times, improved access and more services in communities closer to home and together we are taking another significant step in achieving that goal today as part of our government’s capital commitment for our health care system,” Stefanson said. “Dauphin is the second largest health center within Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) and these renovations will help to enhance the network of programs and services for patients in this part of our province.”

The Dauphin announcement is a part of Manitoba’s clinical and preventative services plan, which was developed and led by clinical leaders and health system experts from across the province, Gordon said.

“Detailed planning looked at population growth and community health needs, distance to specialized health services and the stability and reliability of the province’s health workforce,” she said. “I’m extremely happy to be a part of this exciting time for the Dauphin Regional Health Center.”

Staff at the facility are looking forward to the opportunities the new clinical spaces will provide for patients, said Dr. Trina Mathison, DRHC site medical lead.

“This is a very positive commitment to the Dauphin Regional Health Center as we continue to strive to provide the best possible care to our patients from Dauphin and our Prairie Mountain Health north region,” Dr. Mathison said. “Along with our previously developed emergency department and special care unit our facility continues to move forward as a regional health center playing a pivotal role in PMH north and our provincial health system.”

She added relocating endoscopy procedures will streamline the process for patients, improve the working environment for operating room staff and allow existing operating rooms to provide access to even more procedures further benefiting patients.

Moving the Dauphin Community Cancer Care program from the third floor to the main floor will provide more convenient outpatient access and improved experiences, as well.

“As one of the healthcare professionals who will be working in this new space, I’m very excited by the possibilities,” Dr. Mathison said. “On behalf of the Dauphin physician group, we look forward to the completion of this project and to working in the new renovated space.”

The increase in the number of endoscopy procedures, combined with the ramping up of surgical procedures and the addition of more patient beds means additional staff will be needed, PMH CEO Brian Schoonbaert said.

The endoscopy unit alone will require an additional 10 staff, he said, and the addition of more inpatient beds mean at some point in the near future the facility will require up to two dozen new staff.

“The new positions will be a mixture of doctors and nurses, with the bulk being nursing positions,” Schoonbaert said. “As you know we’ve had some challenges with staffing throughout the region. It’s a national issue, but we know that there’s opportunities to continue to recruit. The schools have been helping us in terms of even bringing staff and training them in our community. We also have the announcements of the international educated nurses program, the 400 additional seats. There’s many things that are now happening that we are pretty confident, no, we are confident that we’re going to be able to staff for all the increases.”

The renovations are expected to begin next year and be completed in 2023.

The renovations will add to nearly $30 million in renovations completed at the site in recent years, including the addition of MRI services in 2018, the opening of a new emergency department in 2019 and 12 additional spaces for dialysis patients last year.

“Today’s announcement supports our government’s commitment to build, renew and expand our health care sites across the province and improve the quality of care for all Manitobans now and well into the future,” the premier said. “Identified in Budget 2021, our historic $812 million investment will support 38 projects in all regions of our province and form the foundation of Manitoba’s new provincial clinical network, a system of health services that will improve access and enhance the quality and reliability of care while reducing provincial wait times.”