Judy Foote, MHA for the District of Grand Bank, is renewing her call for
government to do the right thing and approve a dialysis unit for the Burin
peninsula. Last week, government announced a unit for Happy Valley-Goose Bay
as a result of dialysis issues facing Labradorians.
"Government made the
right decision by placing a dialysis unit in Labrador, a decision I
support," said Ms. Foote. "However, I question why the people of the Burin
Peninsula who need the same services are being ignored after repeated pleas
for a dialysis unit. The people living on the Burin peninsula have been
fighting for a dialysis unit and have raised a significant amount of money
for such a unit. They, like the people in Labrador, deserve to be treated
with dignity and receive the care they need where they live.
"The nearest dialysis unit for people requiring treatment on the Burin
Peninsula is as much as four hours away. During winter months, highway
driving on the Burin Peninsula Highway can be treacherous and has forced
many patients to relocate closer to dialysis services which they need to
survive. This decision has forced many away from their family and friends
and has certainly diminished their quality of life during treatment.
"The evidence exists for the establishment of a dialysis unit at the
Burin Peninsula Health Care Centre. The argument about requiring a
sufficient number of patients living in a particular region to warrant a
dialysis unit fails to take into account the stress on the patient who has
to be away from home for an extended period of time. Certainly such stress
makes it more difficult for those patients who are already fighting for
their lives. Premier Williams has said there will be more money for health
care in the upcoming budget. It is incumbent upon government to ensure that
not only is there sufficient funding provided for a dialysis unit for the
Burin Peninsula, but funding for the additional personnel required to
operate the equipment. To locate a dialysis unit at the Health Care Centre
in Burin without funding to hire additional health care workers will only
put more strain on those employees who now work tirelessly trying to keep up
with the demands.
"The next provincial budget is only a month away. I am asking Premier
Williams and Minister Ottenheimer not to ignore the needs of the people of
the Burin Peninsula. Dialysis treatment is stressful enough without the
added pressures of having to leave your community and drive long distances
in less than ideal weather conditions. The time has come to make this
announcement for the benefit of all residents living on the Burin peninsula,
as was done for the people of Labrador."