Health

Province doubles number of dialysis stations in Miramichi (08/11/07)

NB 1654

Nov. 7, 2008

MIRAMICHI (CNB) - The number of dialysis treatment stations in Miramichi has now doubled to 12.

The expanded and renovated dialysis unit in Miramichi was officially opened today. Among those taking part were Health Minister Michael Murphy; Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General John W. Foran; and Regional Health Authority (RHA) A board chair Aldéa Landry.

"Increasing the dialysis stations to 12 from six will allow all medically stable patients from the Miramichi area to receive dialysis treatment in their own region," Murphy said. "This increase represents an additional investment by our government of $1.5 million annually."

The province invested $665,000 in new equipment for the unit, and the annual operating budget has increased to $2.76 million from $1.2 million. Staffing has increased to 20.6 full-time equivalents (FTEs) from 8.6 FTEs.

Murphy said the enhanced investment is in keeping with the commitment made in the Charter for Change to make quality, accessible health care a reality across the province.

"We believe that health-care services should be offered where they are needed, provided they are affordable and sustainable," he said. "We are committed to providing health services, where appropriate, to New Brunswickers in their homes and their communities."

The dialysis program in Miramichi is a satellite of RHA A's nephrology centre in Moncton. The building is leased long term to RHA A by the Centre de santé Hôpital Dr-Georges-L.-Dumont Inc., which owns the building and paid to have the expansion and renovations undertaken.

Foran said the expansion will directly improve the quality of life of dialysis patients in the Miramichi area.

"Another 10 to 15 patients being served closer to their home is excellent news," he said. "This will reduce travel time and related costs for these patients, and help to improve their quality of life."

Landry said the dialysis unit has served the community well since it first opened.

"Interestingly, I was present when this satellite dialysis unit opened its door almost 10 years ago," she said. "This is a perfect example of an innovative model being implemented in New Brunswick - it was the first of its kind in Canada, and this program has had a direct impact on the quality of life of our patients."

In recent years, the number of New Brunswickers requiring dialysis treatment has been increasing around 10 per cent annually. The increase matches the national trend and is tied to an aging population and to the rising incidence of diabetes.

The dialysis unit in Miramichi has witnessed this growing demand. When it opened a decade ago ago, the unit operated three days a week with six dialysis stations to serve 12 patients. Four years ago, it was extended to six days per week with 24 patients. Prior to the expansion in the number of dialysis stations, the unit was operating at capacity.

The expansion and renovations included an addition of more than 540 sq. metres (6,000 sq. feet) that brought the total building area to almost 945 sq. metres (10,500 square feet).

08/11/07

MEDIA CONTACTS: Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3513; Jean-René Noël, communications, Regional Health Authority A, 506-544-2139.

08/11/07