MLA concerned over health centre location – Groenewegen confident services will remain the same

Hay River South MLA Jane Groenewegen has a couple of concerns about the new health centre proposed for the town, but not when it comes to the services offered.

Instead, Groenewegen has a serious concern about the location chosen for the health centre in the Sundog commercial area across Highway 2 from the Super A grocery store.

“I’ve never supported the current location of the new facility,” she said. “I’ve had doubts about readiness from a drainage perspective. I have concerns about the train tracks if use of train service increases from economic activity. But the Town of Hay River really wanted the hospital development to be there as the anchor development that would bring services into that area, to which they are hoping to attract more development.”

Groenewegen said she would have preferred to see the Department of Environment and Natural Resources site on the east side of the highway used for the new facility.

Before the health centre begins to take a physical form, a public hearing will be held to allow people to learn more information and have their questions answered.

“The public meeting will be in June after session (of the legislative assembly),” said Groenewegen. “I hope people will attend to express their opinions, but I also hope that people will hear the presentation first so that they can provide feedback from the most informed position possible.”

The MLA is confident the same services will be offered to Hay River resident in the new facility.

Groenewegen and Hay River North MLA Robert Bouchard have been involved in meetings with officials from the Department of Health and Social Services and Groenewegen said it is her understanding there
will be some changes.

“I believe that some of the administrative services may not all fit into the new facility,” she said. “I know it is not government policy any longer to include long-term-care beds in a ‘hospital setting’ so we definitely have some work ahead in the next three-year window to see how we will retain the 10 long-term-care beds, and even additional capacity before the new facility goes on stream.”

Groenewegen noted a modern health facility will benefit the town when it comes to attracting healthcare professionals at all levels.

“I would like to see midwifery come to Hay River, but the success of that service depends largely on the complement of other professionals we have as backup should anything unforeseen happen,” she said.

“I think we’ve had some great nurse-practitioners in Hay River and I would like to see that service continued and enhanced.”