NEWS
04/23/2014 01:48 EDT | Updated 06/23/2014 05:59 EDT

More beds mean higher price tag for Saskatchewan children's hospital

SASKATOON - The Saskatchewan government says it will put up another $20 million to add beds to the yet-to-be-built children's hospital.

Health Minister Dustin Duncan says the extra money will increase the number of beds by 24 to 176.

He says the investment will bring the total cost of the hospital to $235.5 million.

The government put a hold on design plans earlier this month after it was determined the hospital was too small to accommodate Saskatchewan's expected population growth.

The new expansion design will delay construction by about five months.

The province expects to break ground in September and the hospital is scheduled to open in 2017.

NDP Leader Cam Broten says the additional beds and bigger facility should have been planned right from the beginning.

"My question is why wasn't the right planning done at the beginning in order to ensure that the right plans were being made?," Broten said.

"Today's announcement is a real admission that the government's planning process by using Lean, bringing in the American consultants to do all the planning, really has been a failure."

Lean is a program that looks for ways to reduce spending and streamline health care.

Broten also said that he's not optimistic about the current timeline for the hospital.

"We see a five-month delay but we see redesign having to occur, a very significant step," Broten said.

"I'm worried about what other shoe may drop because this is obviously a hugely important project for children in our province and families in our province."

(CKOM)