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SHA expanding neonatal nursery at Prince Albert’s Victoria Hospital

Victoria Hospital Prince Albert
The SHA said an expanded nursery at Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert will allow more sick newborns to be treated there instead of having to send them to other centres. File / Global News

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) wants to expand the nursery at Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert to make it a Level 2 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The SHA said this will allow more sick newborns to be treated instead of having to send them to other centres in Saskatchewan or out of province.

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“This upgrade is important for the community, and when complete will improve the level of care offered to babies and families in Prince Albert and northern Saskatchewan,” Dr. Erin Hamilton, the SHA’s integrated northern health physician executive, said Friday in a statement.

“Provincially, the upgrade in Prince Albert is important to the network of neonatal units and will improve our ability to keep maternal and newborn care where appropriate within Saskatchewan by reducing the need to transfer out of province due to capacity issues.”

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Design and construction costs will be funded by the Victoria Hospital Foundation.

“Our foundation is deeply grateful to our wonderful community, all our donors and to Drs. Lalita and the late Tilak Malhotra for their passion and generosity to our Level 2 NICU expansion campaign,” said the foundation’s CEO, Sherry Buckler.

“Their collective commitment to local health care has enabled our foundation to invest in the best possible care for our most fragile newborns born here at home.”

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The SHA said a request for proposals will be issued in early October to expand the neonatal special nursery space at the hospital and increase the number of bassinets to 11.

“Our government recognizes there is a growing need for a higher level of care for newborns in Prince Albert and northern Saskatchewan,” said Crown Investments Minister Joe Hargrave.

“We are grateful to the Victoria Hospital Foundation and community residents who have generously supported this project, allowing better access to specialized care as close to home as possible.”

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Officials said work will continue to either renovate or replace Victoria Hospital, and the neonatal special care nursery project will be taken into account during that planning.

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They added the space will be designed to be flexible and accommodate future changes at the hospital.