Burnell Allison

Burnell Allison, 74, lives in South West Port Mouton. He's been told he will have to travel to Halifax every five weeks for dialysis, but has been given a reprieve this Sunday. (CBC)

A 74-year-old man from South West Port Mouton, N.S., won’t have to make the five-hour round trip to Halifax this Sunday for dialysis, avoiding what could be a nasty storm.

But it’s unclear whether this will be a temporary or permanent reprieve for Burnell Allison, who needs dialysis three times a week.

Dialysis patients treated in Liverpool were told recently that due to a casual nurse shortage at the Queens General Hospital, those needing treatment would have to travel to Halifax every five weeks on a rotating basis.

Allison’s first Halifax appointment was to be this Sunday, but now he’s been told he’ll be treated in Liverpool because of space shortage for dialysis in metro.

The requirement for patients to travel to Halifax was brought in by the Capital District Health Authority, which runs the dialysis machine at the Queens General Hospital.

It has sparked concerns that such travel will be a problem in poor weather, and one advocate for older people said treatment should be made available in the community.

“We need to offer services to all our citizens, and especially our seniors, that are appropriate to them where they live,” said Bill VanGorder, the chairman of the Halifax chapter of Canadian Association of Retired Persons.

“Everybody can’t live in Halifax.”

Nova Scotia’s health minister says this is an area he plans to review with the health authority.