150 surgeries cancelled or moved since Thompson operating rooms were shut down due to water damage

NRHA says cleanup and restoration could take as long as six months to complete

About 150 surgeries have been affected by the closure of three of four operating rooms at the Thompson General Hospital as a result of water damage from a faulty rooftop air conditioning unit.

Nearly seven weeks have passed since the damage was discovered June 1 and the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) says it could be six months before cleanup and restoration are complete.

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“To date, more than 123 surgeries have been cancelled,” said a July 19 email from the NRHA in response to questions posed by the Thompson Citizen July 11. “There have been 27 surgeries performed at other facilities.”

Emergency surgeries and emergency C-sections continue to be performed in Thompson.

The restoration project has not been tendered yet because the work is under the supervision of insurance brokers who provided the hospital’s building insurance. As a result, no cost estimate for the restoration is currently available.

Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew told attendees at a public forum in Thompson July 18 that he had heard the insurance company only wanted to pay to restore the operating rooms to the state they were in before being damaged and not to the current operating room standard.

The NRHA said an accurate timeline for the work to be complete is not yet available.

“The full scope of work has not been fully established, but early estimates are four to six months to completion.”

New roofs for the hospital and the adjacent administration building are among 117 health-care safety and security projects the province is spending $28 million on this year, Health Minister Cameron Friesen announced May 28. The hospital was also scheduled to get new operating room doors as well as new courtyard concrete and upgrades to pharmacy security, the nurse call system and lighting.

The hospital roof replacement, vacuum pump upgrades and/or replacement and phase two of a water booster upgrade were previously announced by the provincial government in February 2018 but the work on the roof did not begin despite the province underspending its health budget by $100 million in the 2018-19 budget year, Kinew said in mid-June.

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