For the first time in 17 months, the people of Watrous will have access to an emergency room and acute care beds.

The Watrous Hospital closed its emergency room in August 2011 after being unable to find a permanent doctor. The hospital remained open, but only offered minimal services such as outpatient services like x-rays, laboratory services, and physical therapy.

“It’s exciting news,” said Graham Fast, vice president of integrated health services. “I think the major thing it means is less inconvenience for the people of Watrous and the surrounding area.”

During the hospitals 17 month closure, patients who required an emergency room or inpatient beds often went to Lannigan, but Fast said he suspects some people went as far as Humbolt for care.

The re-opening is credited to two new doctors who’ve committed to serving the Watrous community, Dr. Latakgomo and Dr. Aktar.

The hospital emergency room will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on January 15.