Retinal surgery will be available in New Brunswick (09/02/05)

NB 112

Feb. 5, 2009

SAINT JOHN (CNB) - A retinal surgery program will be established this year at the St. Joseph's Hospital, with financial support from the provincial government.


Health Minister Michael Murphy and Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty announced today that the Department of Health will be investing $550,000 in 2009-10 to help set up the program. Dr. Dan Polya, an ophthalmologist with a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery, will perform the surgeries.

"When this program begins later this year, New Brunswick patients will have the option to undergo retinal surgery right here in Saint John," Murphy said. "It will no longer be necessary for people to travel out of province for these procedures."

The St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation is donating a $90,000 optical coherence tomography (OCT) machine for use in the program.

David Barry, chairman of the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation Board, acknowledged the community's generosity and goodwill in supporting the purchase of the OCT machine.

"As a foundation to support St. Joseph's, we are proud to have partnered in this project," Barry said. "The investment by the province, our foundation and the community has once again helped St. Joseph's to respond to the health-care services we need."

"Providing the best possible patient care is of utmost priority for our RHA," said Nancy Savage, vice-president of clinical services for Regional Health Authority B. "We look forward to the implementation and development of this surgery program here at St. Joseph's Hospital, and seeing the benefits for our patients."

The Department of Health estimates that up to 150 people in New Brunswick could benefit from the program each year.

"As a result of this initiative, the quality and accessibility of health care will be enhanced for people throughout our province," Murphy said. "This improvement will help ensure that the public system will become sustainable and continue meeting New Brunswickers' needs on our journey to self-sufficiency."


MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Cumby, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3522.