Opposition wants to see a hyperbaric chamber plan now

NDP brought a stream of patients, advocates to the legislature to oppose Sask. Party decision

The Opposition New Democrats are counting a victory today with a Sask. Party flip-flop on the hyperbaric chamber, with the government finally bowing to pressure and admitting that this life-saving medical device needs to be part of the new hospital in Moose Jaw. 

For months, the New Democrats have been fighting to save the province’s only hyperbaric chamber and insisting that it be housed in the Moose Jaw Hospital, where certified physicians and technicians are already in place. Throughout the spring, the NDP brought a steady stream of patients and advocates to the legislature to join its fight against the government’s bad decision.

The Sask. Party government repeatedly said there isn't enough floor space in the new hospital, which will be significantly smaller than the current hospital in Moose Jaw, but today the government said it's now prioritizing an in-hospital solution and hopes to provide some details in the coming weeks.

“For a long time now, Moose Jaw residents, firefighters, health care professionals and many others throughout Saskatchewan have been demanding that the Sask. Party reverse its decision, so we welcome this change of heart, but this last-minute scramble is incredibly frustrating,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “It's almost moving day for the Moose Jaw hospital, yet this government still doesn't have a plan for how it will incorporate the hyperbaric chamber in the new hospital. Will it be adding space or will it be reworking the current design? What's the plan?”

The government used its controversial John Black Lean program to shrink the design of the Moose Jaw Hospital, making it significantly smaller than the existing Moose Jaw Union Hospital. It’ll have far fewer inpatient rooms and less square footage overall. For example, the maternity ward will go from the current 14 beds to just six.

The Sask. Party encountered similar problems with its design of the Children's Hospital in Saskatoon. It allowed Lean consultants to shrink the design of that facility and then had to scramble to add space back into the design, which added cost and delayed the project further.