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N.S. health minister offers little hope for dialysis clinic in Barrington area anytime soon

There has long been a push for dialysis services in the Barrington Passage area.
There has long been a push for dialysis services in the Barrington Passage area. - file photo

BARRINGTON, N.S. – Nova Scotia Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey is offering little hope that a satellite hemodialysis clinic will be established in the Barrington area anytime soon.

Delorey was asked by Argyle-Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont when his government would commit to creating a satellite hemodialysis unit in the area. The question was asked in the legislature on March 2.

“Dialysis in my area is a question I have asked of him, and numerous members, over the last number of years,” said d’Entremont, the Opposition house leader. “The group in Barrington Passage is looking to get a satellite hemodialysis unit in that community. The closest option right now is Yarmouth… and it’s further away to go either to Liverpool or Bridgewater. There are 14 people in Shelburne County right now having to travel to receive that service in Yarmouth. Can the minister of health and wellness commit to creating a satellite hemodialysis unit in Barrington Passage for the patients of that area?”

Minister Delorey told the house, “The unfortunate reality is there are other communities and regions that have an even further distance, and that’s where we’ve been trying to focus on the first round of these expanded dialysis treatments. We have a number of projects underway for either new or expanded seats across the province. That’s our first priority… We’re really focusing our resources, the project teams and partnership, with the health authority, the department, and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to get these projects off the ground, get these seats in place for those who are going to receive them in this first round.

“We’ll continue to look at it over time as resources exist and we get these projects up and running,” the minister said.

In an interview, d’Entremont said it’s going on four years that he has been lobbying for a dialysis clinic in the Barrington area on behalf of constituents.

“I don’t think I’m gaining a whole lot,” he said. “It seems dialysis services across the province are changing but I don’t know what it means for our request for a satellite dialysis unit. I’m hopeful we will be able to have it but it seems there is going to have to be a change in direction by government on this.

“Our fight really now is with the Nova Scotia Health Authority to try to get a different kind of service that’s not the normal,” he added. “Dialysis units are usually in a hospital. In this case we’re asking for something a little bit different and they seem to be having a hard time with it.”

Looking at the overall health-care picture in the province, d’Entremont said, “We feel things aren’t getting better.”

“There are more than 100,000 people without family doctors and those that do have doctors are always worried if their doctor is going to retire. There’s a lot of older doctors in southwestern Nova Scotia,” he said. “And then the whole issue of emergency rooms. Roseway, I wouldn’t say it’s closed more than it’s opened, but probably 50/50 at this point. Digby is having problems as well. We don’t have the health services that we should have and then there’s a whole issue of long-term care, people waiting in the hospital for placement, filling up our hospitals, so there’s a whole cascade of problems in our health-care system that I think the government is really having a hard time to figure out.”

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