Dialysis patients who have to travel an hour or more for treatment have a higher mortality rate and face more complications, says a consultant hired by a group pushing for dialysis units in rural P.E.I. to stay open.

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The P.E.I. Dialysis Support Group hired a consultant to look into rural treatment. (CBC)

That was one finding from consultant Alan Buchanan's report to the P.E.I. Dialysis Support Group, which was presented at a meeting in Souris Wednesday night.

Buchanan also found that dialysis treatment in rural, satellite centres is more cost-efficient than at centralized ones and the quality of care is better.

Last spring, the province said it would take a year to study whether to keep dialysis units in Souris and Alberton or to centralize services in Charlottetown and Summerside.

So the dialysis support group hired Buchanan to do the same thing.

He looked at several studies on how dialysis treatment has worked in other places.

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Consultant Alan Buchanan presenting his findings on rural dialysis care. (CBC)

The group hopes the report will convince the province to keep the dialysis units at both ends of the Island open.

"I honestly believed we were keeping the unit here without the report, so now with the report, we've now got a big harpoon," said Nathan Bushey, the group's president.

Health Minister Doug Currie is out of the province this week, but said he just received the report Wednesday and won't comment until he's had a chance to read it.