It's the news that so many in southeast Saskatchewan have been waiting to hear: St. Joseph's Hospital in Estevan will be receiving a computed tomography (CT) scan, likely in 2015.
The announcement was made Friday at St. Joseph's. Representatives from the hospital and its foundation, the Sun Country Health Region and the Ministry of Health were in attendance.
“Demand for medical imaging services is increasing as our province’s population continues to grow,” Minister responsible for Rural and Remote Health Tim McMillan said.
“Adding CT services in Estevan will help reduce wait times for medical imaging services in southern Saskatchewan, so patients can get the care they need sooner. This is an important step toward our 2019 goal of reducing diagnostic wait times by half in the province.”
The number of patients receiving CT service in Saskatchewan has increased 22 per cent since 2008-09, from 79,856 in 2008-09 to an expected 97,330 in 2014-15.
“Thanks to government, wait times will be reduced for the residents of Sun Country Health Region,” Sun Country Health Region CEO Marga Cugnet said. “Access to both elective investigations and emergency services for patients will vastly improve diagnosis and treatment to maintain health and limit disability. Locating the service in Estevan will also improve travel time and parking frustrations for our residents.”
“This expansion of services equips our medical staff to better meet the needs of patients, particularly in emergency situations,” St. Joseph’s Hospital executive director Greg Hoffort said. “CT services are critical to many aspects of medical care, as they allow physicians and specialists to make more accurate diagnoses before recommending treatment.”
The St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation has committed to raise $2 million from donors – including contributions from 15 area municipalities – for the capital equipment, renovations, installation and start-up costs.
The provincial government will take over funding for all operating costs after the initial start-up phase.
According to a release from the foundation, it will cost $1.2 million to purchase the machine, and $800,000 to renovate the existing areas in the hospital, and cover the start-up costs.
“Our communities have long recognized the benefits of having CT services in southeast Saskatchewan,” foundation vice-chair and City of Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig said.
“We are confident that in addition to the major contributions announced today, communities, families and businesses will show strong support for the campaign to get this service up and running.”
The foundation already has several commitments in place. Local municipalities will contribute an estimated $500,000 towards the technology. Ron and Shirley Carson of Lampman have also donated $500,000; the CT scan/x-ray department will be called the Ron and Shirley Carson Diagnostic Centre.
"When considering our contribution to the CT scan services at St. Joseph's Hospital, we feel that it is a way we can give back to the entire community in southeast Saskatchewan, because that is where our customers, staff, friends and family are from," said Ron Carson.
"We are very pleased to contribute to this initiative that will bring great value to the communities we serve, and we are happy to donate to such an important and lifesaving cause."
The Mainprize Manor Foundation in Midale has contributed $100,000, while Dorothy Yoner and her late husband, Steve, provided $60,000. The Yoners' contribution was the first for the project.
The foundation's staff and board of directors will be visiting the corporate community in southeast Saskatchewan in the coming weeks to secure funding.
In addition to better access to diagnoses of injuries and internal medical problems, CT services in Estevan will allow residents to benefit from innovative work already developed in the health region.
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