Children’s Hospital will be bigger

Health minister Dustin Duncan confirmed the final design of the Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital will be changed to include space for more beds. Supplied/Saskatoon Health Region

REGINA – The Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital is undergoing some significant changes to its future plan, one year after unveiling a detailed design.

Funding for the much-anticipated maternity and children’s hospital in Saskatoon was announced in 2009 to care for children from across the province; however the current plan is already being called too-small for Saskatchewan.

The details are slim but the health minister confirmed more beds, mainly in the maternity ward, will be added.

“It (the hospital) will be larger than what was first contemplated in 2012,” said Health Minister Dustin Duncan. “Basically a wall will be shifted that changes the footprint but it also will accommodate the additional beds.”

Duncan wouldn’t reveal how much the expansion will cost, other than to say it will be in the millions.

“There will be an increase cost,” said Duncan. “But this doesn’t change any of the planning dollars that have already been provided for the project.”

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A final design, developed with the cost-cutting Lean strategy in mind, was unveiled last year. It was smaller than an earlier concept.

Thursday’s announcement comes just one-day after the health minister acknowledged the future hospital might not be big enough, but he wouldn’t point the finger at Lean.

“As you’ll know, since that time (2009) obviously we’ve grown by 100,000 people in six years, not in ten years,” said Duncan. “Lean is about the flow of the patients and this is really about the number of beds.”

However, the opposition NDP leader said Lean is to blame for the hospital not being large enough in the first place.

“Saskatchewan people knew that it was too small and not listening to health care providers to me is an indication that this whole Lean initiative isn’t bringing the results that we want,” said Cam Broten.

The president of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan stresses no donor money is going to planning the new facility and she welcomes the change.

“We want to get this right,” said Brynn Boback-Lane. “Building a children’s hospital is not an easy task. It’s a big project with multi-facets and I think we just need to understand that moving forward there may be a few changes here and there but they’re for the better.”

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Construction was supposed to start early this year and completed in 2016 but now the project will only be put to tender in June.

The health ministry is expected to release further details about the hospital on Wednesday.


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