Charlottetown dialysis patients getting 'priority'
Some Summerside patients say they're being pushed aside
A new dialysis centre opened Friday at Prince County Hospital in Summerside but some patients aren't happy.
Mike Galant, a patient from St. Gilbert, says he's being pushed aside so people from Charlottetown can have the afternoon appointments.
Galant is partially blind and suffers from diabetes. He used to go for dialysis in the afternoon but now has to rely on family members to drive him in the morning.
"They're getting priority shifts over us. They're getting the good days and the good times whereas we have to take the garbage," said Galant.
Health Minister Doug Currie told CBC news, people from Charlottetown are getting the afternoon appointments simply because it's unreasonable to ask patients to make the drive to Summerside for early morning appointments.
"I understand the inconvenience … for people who have to travel from anywhere, but we have have to try to accomodate the best we possibly can," Currie said.
Cecil Villard, the executive director of home-based and long-term care at Health P.E.I., said the centre opened to help deal with the increasing number of dialysis patients on the Island.
"In the last two years we’ve seen … about a 75 per cent increase in the demand here in the province of Prince Edward Island," Villard said.
Villard said the jump in the number of dialysis patients is a result of a predicted yearly 7 to 10 per cent increase but also because of better access to kidney problem detection.
He said the province has taken on two more nephrologists, which has led to more detection of kidney problems.
The new centre will accommodate 54 patients per week, up from 24, inlcuding the seven overflow patients from Charlottetown.
In June, a new site is expected to open at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.
The government hopes the new site will take some of the burden off of Prince County.