Dialysis patients living on Montreal's West Island no longer need to travel downtown for treatment, now that Lachine Hospital has opened a new dialysis unit – after months of delays.

The life-saving treatment, which removes toxins from the blood of people with failing kidneys, hasn't been available in Lachine since 1996.

That's mean patients have had to commute to the Royal Victoria Hospital to be treated.

In fact, dialysis was the only service left at the old Royal Vic building after the rest of the hospital moved to the MUHC superhospital's Glen campus last year. 

At a news conference Friday, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said dialysis was moved to Lachine to make life easier for the West Island's aging population.

It's good news for Muriel Gibson, who undergoes dialysis three times a week. For the last 13 years, this has meant travelling from her home in Lachine to downtown Montreal.

Now she only needs to travel five minutes from home.

The $3.9-million dialysis unit has 15 stations and can treat as many as 90 patients a week. 

The MUHC had originally planned to open a satellite dialysis clinic on Décarie Boulevard close to the Glen campus by April 2015, but the provincial health ministry put the brakes on that project.

The health centre then planned a new unit at the Lachine Hospital instead, but management said having to draw up contingencies led to several months' of delays.

With files from the CBC's Sabrina Marandola.