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May 29, 2000
(Health and Community Services)

Work progressing on dialysis units for St. Anthony and Clarenville

The Department of Health and Community Services advised today that work is progressing on the establishment of community-based kidney dialysis units for St. Anthony and Clarenville. The dialysis units, totaling more than $570,000, were announced in March during Budget 2000.

The department has held some discussions with Grenfell Regional Health Services Board, Peninsulas Health Care Corporation, and Health and Community Services Eastern Region regarding the set-up of the dialysis units to ensure that the most appropriate location is chosen for dialysis clients. Setting up the dialysis units also requires plans to be put in place regarding the purchase of dialysis equipment and the training of health professionals and technical/medical support for the program. Implementation committees in each region will ensure the establishment of these units. The committees will work closely with the Nephrology Program at the Health Care Corporation of St. John's to ensure the new units meet acceptable standards for the care of dialysis clients.

Dr. Brendan Barrett, chief nephrologist for the Health Care Corporation of St. John's, said that only individuals who are considered medically stable will be eligible to use the community-based dialysis units. "I can assure clients that they will receive a high quality of service from the community-based dialysis units. In fact, it's much better for individuals involved as they will no longer have to travel long distances for their treatment."

Dr. Barrett confirmed that clients would still see their dialysis specialists regularly to evaluate their medical condition, and he said health professionals providing the service in the community would be linked with the province's main nephrology program at the Health Care Corporation of St. John's for assistance and back-up.

For the development of the services in St. Anthony and Clarenville, there is a one-time total capital cost of $150,800 to purchase four dialysis machines, and an ongoing operating cost of $421,600 - a total of $572,400 in year one.

The decision to fund these services follows a July 1999 report on dialysis by the Provincial Renal Advisory Committee. This report recommended the establishment of community-based units for those individuals whose medical condition makes them suitable to receive treatment in a non-hospital based environment. St. Anthony and Clarenville were identified in the report as feasible locations for these services.

The service is expected to be available in both communities by December of this year.

Media contact: Karen McCarthy, (709)729-6670.

2000 05 29                                                             4:40 p.m.

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