With increasing pressure on government to address the state of mental healthcare in the province, and to fix up the sorry state of the Waterford Hospital, government has finally responded with nearly $3 million promised to the Waterford.

It’s part of $18 million being spent across multiple St. John’s based hospitals, including renovations and new equipment for the Health Sciences Centre, the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre, St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital, the Waterford Hospital, the Dr. Leonard A. Miller Centre and the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre.

Given the consistent outrage at the state of NL’s mental healthcare system, 3 million of 18 seems like a raw deal for the Waterford, since the 18 million was not split evenly across all 6 hospitals. The Health Science Centre will receive the lion’s share: $10.3 million for new equipment and upgrades, and to purchase furnishings and equipment for the new Molecular Imaging Facility.

The Molecular Imaging Facility will unite all nuclear medicine services in the one location, and will house the province’s first PET/CT scanner and medical cyclotron, enhancing the treatment and diagnosis of cancers and other illnesses.

Officials acknowledge the $3 million for the Waterford is just a Band-aid for now. In fairness, it is the second largest lump sum provided to any one of the six hospitals receiving this new funding.

The Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre comes in third place,  receiving over $2.2 million for new cancer care equipment and expansion of use of the ARIA Medical Oncology Information Management System. St. Clare’s will receive $1.4 million to purchase new equipment and replace aging items.

The Health Minister says the province simply doesn’t have the money to rebuilt the Waterford on account of the economy, and that even if they could, it’d take years that our mental health care facilities don’t have to wait it out. The hope is to immediately make patients’ and staff’s experience at the Waterford a little better.

Today’s $3 million for the Waterford is mainly for “various infrastructure upgrades” and new electric beds, an automated medication distribution system, and the replacement of portable dialysis water systems.