Health minister cuts ribbon at dialysis unit

Brodie Thomas
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A year and two months after the dialysis unit in Port aux Basques began helping patients, the province’s heath minister came to Port aux Basques to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

from left, Ed Keeping, Joan MacIsaac, Mayor Brian Button, Dorothy Kettle, Minister Sullivam, and Kelli O’Brien, Vice President, Long Term Care and Rural Health for Western Health.

The delay in official ceremonies didn’t seem to bother the patients who now take advantage of the new unit. They’ve been more that happy with not having to drive to Corner Brook for the past year to receive their dialysis treatment.

Ed Keeping was the first patient at the Port aux Basques dialysis back in 2011.

“I feel a lot better,” said Mr. Keeping. “Even just leaving Corner Brook to come out here made me feel better.”

He has now had time to do some work around the house painting and fixing up. He joked that he even gets to cook lunch for his wife every once in a while.

South Branch resident Verna Shepherd said the new dialysis unit is “wonderful.”

“I travelled in there (to Corner Brook) almost three years,” she said. “It was a hard trip. I think it’s a lovely thing that we have it down here.”

Joan MacIsaac, also from the Codory Valley, came out for the ribbon cutting. For her, it’s the personal touch that really makes coming to the Port aux Basques dialysis unit so special.

“The staff are perfect,” she said.

Health Minister Susan Sullivan gave credit to the hospital staff in her opening remarks.

“We appreciate the work you do, we know the great work you do, and we need to take time to tell you that,” said the minister.

She said creation of the dialysis unit in Port aux Basques is all about providing needed healthcare as close to people’s homes as possible. The minister also reminded people on that that 40 per cent of the provincial budget goes into health care expenses, and that means her department is constantly looking for ways to save money.

“When you hear talk of us looking for efficiencies, I don’t want you to despair,” said Minister Sullivan.

In her speech, she singled out the LeGrow Hospital Foundation, The Ladies Auxiliary, and the Kinsmen Club for their work raising funds for the unit.

The Kinsmen had recently sold their club’s building when money was being raised for the unit in 2010. They donated $115,000 in one shot, which was the entire goal for that year’s Radiothon.

Kinsmen secretary Terrance Osmond took some time out from work for the ribbon cutting. As a plumber with Western Health, he was tasked to help construct the unit, and gets to help with regular upkeep.

“It’s nice,” said Mr. Osmond. “I just spoke to the other guys about where the money goes.”

Mayor Button said the benefits of the dialysis unit spread well beyond Port aux Basques, and it was a joint effort of many groups and citizens to make it a reality.

“I can easily speak for everyone when I say how much having dialysis at home means to everyone in the community,” said the mayor.

Burgeo-La Poile MHA Andrew Parsons was on hand for the opening. He said the Kinsmen’s donation was huge and it shows the spirit of the community.

“It’s a great day,” said Mr. Parsons. “To see the actual effect it has on people and their families, to get these services is amazing.

Organizations: LeGrow Hospital Foundation, Kinsmen Club

Geographic location: Port aux Basques, Corner Brook, Codory Valley

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