Bethesda expansion includes new surgical theatres

·2 min read

The Honourable Kelvin Goertzen was on hand to make a big announcement in his home riding of Steinbach on April 28. This year, three new surgical theatres are being added to the Bethesda Regional Health Centre.

“These very long-awaited operating suites will greatly add to the surgical capacity in the region and in the province,” Goertzen said. “And we’ve seen over the last few years how important that is.”

The nearly $30 million project will also include 12 patient care treatment spots for pre- and post-op care, an expanded lab, a dedicated reception and waiting area for patients and family, and a cultural space to support multidenominational services, including Indigenous cultural ceremonies such as smudging.

The Bethesda Foundation has pledged $8 million towards the project.

“The surgery upgrade, along with many related enhancements, will replace the existing two suites which are going on 60 years of age,” said Garth Reimer, board chair of the Bethesda Foundation. “I think they were built when this hospital was constructed in 1964.”

Also on site for Friday’s surgical room announcement was Dr. Christo Minnaar, chief of staff at the BRHC.

“As physician here at Bethesda, I was very encouraged to hear that this expansion will also support physician and resident services, including the addition of three new on-call sleep rooms,” said Minnaar. “This will go a long way to supporting a sustainable work environment for the medical teams.”

Phase one of the BRHC expansion began in 2021 with the announcement of 15 new acute care beds to be used for a variety of needs such as palliative care and chronic and cardiopulmonary disease. As well, eight surgical beds were added.

In August 2022, construction began on six treatment bays for renal dialysis. Pharmacy upgrades were made to help support the delivery of chemotherapy services at the centre.

All in all, the BRHC expansion project now comes to a total capital investment of $64 million, one of the largest in Steinbach’s history.

In recent years, the city also saw the addition of 140 personal care home beds thanks to $35 million in investments at Rest Haven.

“When Garth Reimer and I were talking about these transformative changes—dialysis, the PCH and new acute care beds—he said, ‘Kelvin, I know you’re a sports fan,’” Goertzen said. “‘In baseball, getting three runs is pretty good, but there’s something called the grand slam. And the grand slam for us would be getting these new operating rooms.’”

Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen