Karen McGrath, the CEO for Central Health, said that plans are ongoing for the establishment of a dialysis unit that will be situated at the Connaigre Peninsula Health Care Clinic in Harbour Breton.
McGrath said on June 13 that the extra $1 million for the unit, that was announced in the provincial government’s 2102 budget, will be used to build a physical space on to the clinic that will house the dialysis unit. She said that tenders should be called for the construction by late summer and work on the physical structure should begin in 2012.
McGrath said, “Once the physical space is under construction, the planning committee for the dialysis unit can continue the planning that will be needed for the actual operation.
It will take about 18 months from the start of construction to the time when the unit is up and operational. The delay in the project to this point in time was in choosing an appropriate site for the unit. However, the site will be actually an add-on to the present clinic so we should be able to move forward from here.
“I realize that people are impatient and would like to have seen the unit in operation much sooner. However, people need to understand that dialysis is a very important treatment and is a fairly complicated medical procedure. It has to be done safely in a proper environment with minimal risks with a properly trained staff and appropriate supports.”
McGrath said that the unit will be able to handle six patients and will be a satellite of the hospital at Grand Falls-Windsor. She noted that not everyone in the Coast of Bays currently undergoing dialysis treatments may be able to avail of the Harbour Breton service.
“Whether a patient can undergo dialysis at the Connaigre Clinic will depend upon a patient’s stability and overall condition. This will be determined by internal medicine staff at Grand Falls-Windsor,” She said.
“We realize that there are dialysis patients in the COB who would love to be able to have their treatments in Harbour Breton and we want to bring them home. However, we cannot compromise the quality and safety of the service we want to provide to those people.”
McGrath said that while Central Health will be starting its Performance Improvement Exercise starting in July of this year, the exercise should have no impact on the timing of the dialysis unit being constructed and put in place.
“This service has already been announced,” she said. “ I seriously doubt if our Performance Improvement Exercise will delay the start of the dialysis project. However, once the unit is in operation, it will come under our efficiency standards, as we will want to run it as efficiently as possible.