Prince Edward Island has a kidney specialist practicing on the Island for the first time in five years.

The lack of a kidney specialist meant hundreds of Islanders living with kidney disease had to travel to the mainland for medical appointments, but that changed after nephrologist Dr. Bruce Jones set up his office at the Polyclinic in Charlottetown earlier this month.

Bob Nelson, the president of the P.E.I. chapter of the Kidney Foundation, has been on dialysis for the past decade. Driving to Halifax has been difficult for him, he told CBC News Thursday, and it's even harder for seniors who have to take the shuttle.

"You have to leave at seven in the morning. Their clinic's 4½ hours [away]," he said.

"It could be seven or eight before you get home at night. Sometimes you don't know if you're going to get through the Cobequid Pass. That's a pretty long day for somebody in their senior age."

Nelson said some kidney patients stopped seeing their nephrologist because of the travel involved.

Jones said there will still be times when patients need to go to Halifax, and he added one kidney specialist may not be able to handle the entire caseload on P.E.I.