By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s Premier has announced her government will contribute $30 million to expand an intensive care unit at a Winnipeg hospital.
Heather Stefanson announced the funding at a Sunday afternoon news conference, saying the money will go towards the Grace Hospital Foundation’s campaign to create up to 20 new beds in the facility’s ICU, and is part of her Progressive Conservative government’s plan to “heal health care in Manitoba.”
The province says the Grace’s current 10-bed ICU provides around-the-clock care for critically ill patients, but Winnipeg Regional Health Care Authority president and CEO Mike Nader told the news conference it’s “dated and inflexible.”
Grace Hospital Foundation board chair Jeff Coleman called the funding “monumental” as the hospital transitions into Winnipeg’s third major acute-care site, along with the Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital.
Coleman noted the Grace has a new MRI building, a new emergency department and a recently completed diagnostic imaging center.
Stefanson says the ICU expansion will continue to ensure the Grace and its staff “can continue to provide the highest standard of care to more Manitobans.”
“This project will make a difference for patients, for their families and the incredible health-care staff who care for those in need in our ICUs,” Stefanson said.
Design work on the hospital expansion is to begin soon, with construction expected to start in the summer of 2024.
Earlier this month, Stefanson was on the defensive as other political leaders attacked her government’s health-care record during a debate organized by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities leading up to the Oct. 3 provincial election.
That record included a bed shortage that forced dozens of intensive care patients to be flown to other provinces at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All three main party leaders promised more money for health care during the forum.
The government noted in a news release about the funding for Grace Hospital that Budget 2023 includes $1.2 billion in multi-year capital investments in hospitals and other health infrastructure across Manitoba.