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Letter: Dialysis patient given cold shoulder by politicians

Letters to the editor
By Letters to the editor
June 2nd, 2023

To The Editor:

On Saturday, May 27th , renal patients will permanently lose the transport services provided by the Nelson Cares bus to travel to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital for kidney dialysis treatments.

I was informed in the middle of April that the funding for the service was due to run out, so we, who need dialysis, will have to find our own way to Trail.

Nelson Cares applied to get funding from Interior Health to continue the services, but the application was denied. Nelson Cares, an organization that has been providing excellent services for dialysis patients by charging $35 round-trip to Trail, has now decided to sell the bus.

Most dialysis patients need treatment three times a week.

Currently, Grand Forks has three dialysis stations, and Creston has four dialysis stations. But Nelson, which has a larger population than these two locations combined, has none. I think this is unfair. Interior Health Authority (IHA) should be providing the Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson with dialysis machines as it has for Grand Forks and Creston.

But if IHA continues to deny us dialysis machines, then the Health Authority should pay for our weekly trips to Trail, which can be as frequent as three times a week for most renal patients. Treatments last four hours, and my daughter (who works full time as do the other family members of the patients travelling to Trail) is unable to drive me and wait for my treatment to end.

A private driver is offering to transport patients to Trail and back for $50 as long as there is a minimum of three people in his vehicle. For dialysis patients who require three treatments a week, this cost adds up to almost $700 a month. One individual I know has been traveling to Trail for seven years.

Think of the cost to his pocketbook, not to mention to our environment!

At the beginning of May, my daughter and my friends have reached out to Brittany Anderson, Minister Dix, the Interior Health’s Board Chair, and Mayor Morrison’s office for help by email, letter, and phone, but the responses my daughter and my friends have received from our MLA’s office have been inconclusive and unclear.

The responses from the Minister’s office and the Interior Health Board Chair’s office were mere automated replies, acknowledging receipt of the emails. The Mayor’s office reported “her staff was going to look into it” but no further response has been received.

With the astonishing amount of real estate development going on in Nelson and the number of new people moving to this city, the Kootenay Lake Hospital must provide more services than it currently offers to meet the needs of our quickly growing and aging population.

Sincerely, Millie Harper, Nelson, BC

Categories: HealthOp/Ed


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