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Progress on hemodialysis site

Sun Country Regional Health Authority is moving along with the plans to complete the design and construction of a hemodialysis satellite unit, to be located at St. Joseph's Hospital in Estevan. An architect has been hired to complete this phase of the process.

The boards of directors of Sun Country Health Region and St. Joseph's Hospital in Estevan have struck a joint fund-raising committee to raise a portion of the capital equipment costs for the project. Saskatchewan Health requires a portion of costs for a project like this to be raised locally.

"We hope to have the service completed within the next 12 months, or sooner," says Cal Tant, Chief Executive Officer of Sun Country Health Region.

Saskatchewan Health gave the region approval to proceed, after $500,000 was set aside for the project in the 2006-07 provincial budget.

Health Minister Len Taylor said Saskatchewan's renal program is focused on bringing services closer to home.

"This initiative will dramatically improve quality of life for dialysis patients in southeast Saskatchewan, by eliminating the need for them to travel long distances for treatment several times a week," he said.

Estevan's site is expected to be operational by next spring, and will be the eighth hemodialysis satellite in the province.

The others are in Prince Albert, North Battleford, Lloydminster, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Yorkton and Tisdale.

Together, they handle about 20 per cent of Saskatchewan's dialysis clients, while "home" units in Regina and Saskatoon serve the remainder.

The Saskatchewan Integrated Renal Program Steering Committee determines where services would most effectively be located, and makes recommendations to Saskatchewan Health.

The committee's membership includes nephrologists (physicians specializing in kidney function and disease), regional health authorities, and the Kidney Foundation.

Hemodialysis is one form of kidney replacement therapy which removes waste from the blood, and prevents a build up of toxins that can be debilitating and ultimately fatal. Almost 500 patients in Saskatchewan receive hemodialysis.

Media: For more information, please contact: Cal Tant, Chief Executive Officer, 842-8718.

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