Who’s paying for a new hospital?

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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A new or renewed Victoria Hospital is poised to become one of the big campaign points in this year’s provincial election. 

Provincial politicians weigh in on a new or renewed Victoria Hospital 

The Saskatchewan NDP would fund 100 per cent of a new or renewed Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert and the Sask. Party would fund 80 per cent.

On this point, Prince Albert city council stands with the Official Opposition.

This year, they plan on petitioning the provincial government to fund 100 per cent of the cost associated with the construction of a new or renewed Victoria Hospital.

On Tuesday, Prince Albert Northcote’s Sask. Party MLA Victoria Jurgens made it clear that her government already recognizes the city’s request.

“Our government is fully apprised of the wishes of our community to have 100 per cent of the Victoria Hospital funded by our provincial government,” she noted. “We’ve known that for a very long time, that that’s the wishes of the people.”

As it stands today, Jurgens said that a new or renewed Victoria Hospital would need a 20 per cent funding commitment by area municipalities, just like the recently opened Dr. Fred H. Wigmore Regional Hospital in Moose Jaw required.

“Anything different would have to be brought forward in a different venue than a comment made today,” she concluded.

Taking a very different tone, Prince Albert Northcote’s Saskatchewan NDP candidate Nicole Rancourt considers it “ludicrous” that the Sask. Party would rule out 100 per cent provincial funding.

Our government is fully apprised of the wishes of our community to have 100 per cent of the Victoria Hospital funded by our provincial government. Victoria Jurgens

“This should be provincially funded just like the hospitals in Saskatoon,” she said, noting that Victoria Hospital is not only used by area residents, but also the entire northern half of the province.

Prince Albert Parkland Health Region statistics show that between 20 and 23 per cent of those admitted to an inpatient unit or who get day surgery at Victoria Hospital are from outside the region.

Although Jurgens affirms that a new or renewed Victoria Hospital is not on the backburner, Rancourt countered that the last time the government pushed the project forward was when they budged $2 million for planning in 2014.

There was nothing new about a new or renewed Victoria Hospital in the 2015 budget and there’s still no timeline attached to the project.

With that, Rancourt concluded that the city’s “urgent” need for improved hospital service has most certainly been put on the backburner by the present government.

@TylerClarkePA • tclarke@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Victoria Hospital, Sask. Party, Fred H. Wigmore Regional Hospital

Geographic location: Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon

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