- Global News Saskatoon (July 27, 2015)
It’s the sign of a vibrant small town in Saskatchewan. For the town of Rosthern having a rural hospital has come with some growing pains and the community is looking to replace it. In what’s become the talk of the town for years, residents are now having to put their money where their mouth is.
Seven municipalities, including Rosthern, have now committed to replace the existing Rosthern Union Hospital. “Everyone, I think really truly recognizes the importance of this facility and I think is mostly ready to set up and help out to raise the 20 per cent required,” said Dennis Helmuth, mayor of Rosthern. Some six to seven million dollars towards the capital costs of the new facility will need to be raised before the province will cover the rest.“Each municipality has determined by themselves what their contribution will be,” added the mayor. Tax increases will be passed on to residents. Rosthern residents are looking at $200 per household per year.A base tax of $150 for every household has been levied for 2015 for Waldheim residents and included in their 2015 municipal taxes, helping to replace a hospital that plays such a vital role in Rosthern and the surrounding area and even downstream in Saskatoon.
“As I understand, we’re the largest community-based hospital north of Saskatoon and we do serve a very large population, so it’s a crucial service and without it the crush on city facilities would be even more pronounced,” said Helmuth.
Nine physicians work at the hospital, six full-time, with 25 active beds on-site. The vision is that the new hospital will have the same number of beds but will be more versatile. “A few areas where I think it will be a lot better is efficiency and wait times and I think in patient safety as well just getting a little more modern, accessible rooms and probably better for infection control and I think that’s where things will really
improve,” said Dr. Jess Melle.
Built in 1950, the hospital had additions added in 1960 and 1970. All those involved today say, at this point, there is no other choice but to replace the hospital as a permanent solution to its problems. “We’ve had two engineering studies. One seven years ago said it had to be replaced. The health region didn’t want to accept that so they had it done again and the same company said it had to be replaced,” said Donald Greve, a former physician at the hospital. “You don’t want to put good money into a bad situation.”
As for a timeline for the new hospital, until funding is in place, it’s up in the air.