Like a dog with a bone, the citizens healthcare advisory group OurTMH won’t stop pushing to have a kidney dialysis clinic located at Trenton Memorial Hospital.
Tuesday, OurTMH made an impassioned presentation to Bay of Quinte riding provincial election candidates Todd Smith, PC, Robert Quaiff, Liberal, Independent Paul Bordonaro, and Terry Cassidy, campaign manager for NDP candidate Joanne Belanger who couldn’t attend the meeting due to work committments.
OurTMH’s Sharon Urquhart said the Quinte West and Brighton area was the only area in the wider region that didn’t have a dialysis clinic, forcing most patients to drive to Kingston or Peterborough three times a week.
The dialysis clinic in Belleville is at capacity and is a self-administered operation which doesn’t suit all people suffering from kidney disease.
“The time spent and stress involved in driving to Kingston is hurting people badly and i’ts ruining some financially. It can cost a dialysis patient between $15,000 and $20,000 a year to travel for the life saving treatment,” said Urquhart.
One in 10 Canadians suffers from kidney disease and that ratio is increasing as the baby boom generation becomes seniors.
Higher percentages of elderly and poor people need dialysis.
Chair of OurTMH Mike Cowan minced no words as he blamed “bureaucratic politics” for stopping a dialysis clinic from being installed at Trenton Memorial.
“It’s the bureaucracy at Kingston General Hospital that is blocking our people from getting more convenient, less costly care. They are trying to boost the number of patients coming to their facility so it can receive funding to be upgraded to a kidney disease teaching centre.”
Cowan also blamed Quinte Health Care and the Southeast LHIN for not putting local patients’ needs first and allowing KGH and the Ontario Renal Network, which funds dialysis clinics, to run the show.
“We need a kidney dialysis clinic at TMH and we need it now!”
Cowan also wondered why a recently completed report on demand for dialysis in the region hadn’t been released to the public by the ORN.
OurTMH representatives have been invited to an upcoming meeting by the other stakeholders involved in the issue in Kingston.