Prince Albert’s Victoria Hospital has announced plans for a $2.2 million expansion of its neonatal unit.

The upgrades to the unit will see the number of bassinets increase to 11.

Victoria Hospital serves all of northern Saskatchewan and Dr. Erin Hamilton, with Integrated Northern Health, said the current unit no longer meets the needs of a growing area population.

“The facility here is small and we’re unable to support the level we feel is needed,” she said. “We are dedicated to providing care as close to home as possible for all of our families and Prince Albert is a prime location to support our northern families in staying closer to home.”

The expansion is expected to be completed in 18 months.

The funding comes through the Victoria Hospital Foundation.

The hospital says the current neonatal unit is about 357 square feet and can only manage four babies at a time.

The Victoria Hospital delivers approximately 1,500 babies a year.