At a meeting of the Joint Mayors’ Committee held in Belleoram on February 7, 2012, the mayors centered much of their discussion around the progress on the installation of the dialysis unit at the Connaigre Peninsula Health Centre in Harbour Breton.
It was almost a year ago that the government announced the funding for the unit, and since then not a lot of progress has been made. Max Taylor, the chairperson of the Joint Mayors’ Committee, was appointed to a Steering Committee by Central Health to help facilitate efforts on the unit, and at the Belleoram meeting he shared some of his concerns with the other representatives from the towns in the area.
Mr. Taylor told the Coaster that a lot of concern has been expressed by councils and citizens of the Coast of Bays region about what has happened since the original announcement in April, 2011. At that time dollars were announced for a unit that would accommodate 24 patients, and statistics show, he said, that we are closer to that number than people realize.
“During the one meeting of the steering committee that was held, it became apparent that the facility at Harbour Breton does not have a block of space to accommodate this unit,” Mr. Taylor added. “A unit that will eventually be able to accommodate 24 patients will need at least 2500 square feet of space, and an extension of this size built on the Connaigre Peninsula Hospital will cost much more than the $1.1 million announced and will result in many years before the unit is opened.”
The joint mayor chair stated that in preparation for the joint mayors meeting and a meeting already scheduled between MHA Tracey Perry, himself and the Minister of Health, the Hon. Susan Sullivan and her officials at St. John's on February 27, he had made contact with a number of dialysis units across the province and discovered that there are different models. The chair commented on the Clarenville model where dialysis is offered at another location in the community. This location is actually a satellite of the hospital.
“The joint mayors felt strongly that we owe it to those needing dialysis to find another solution,” the chairperson stated. “ It was felt that this may be possible at Hr. Breton with adequate space obviously available but needing modification.”
The chair was directed to communicate this point and other discussion at the meeting to the minister. This was done the following day by fax and copied to MHA Tracey Perry and Heather Brown of Central Health. The meeting with the Minister will be held a day before the Coaster’s February 28 issue, and the chair will report back to all local governments in the region immediately following the meeting and will communicate with citizens of the region through The Coaster.