Nelson, B.C. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson, B.C. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

LETTER: Interior Health should provide dialysis in Nelson or patient transportation to Trail

From reader Millie Harper

On May 27, renal patients will lose the transport services provided by the Nelson Cares bus to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital for kidney dialysis treatments. For a year, Nelson Cares had been providing excellent services for dialysis patients, charging $35 round-trip to Trail, but the Nelson Cares’ application for funding from Interior Health to continue this service has been denied.

Grand Forks has three dialysis stations, and Creston has four. But while Nelson’s population is larger than these two locations combined, we have none. This is very wrong.

Interior Health (IH) should provide Kootenay Lake Hospital with dialysis machines. But if IH continues to deny us dialysis machines, then IH should pay for our weekly trips to Trail, which can be as frequent as three times a week for most renal patients.

A private driver has offered to transport patients to Trail for $50 if he has three passengers. For many dialysis patients, this amounts to nearly $700 a month. The cost to our pocketbooks, not to mention to our environment, is enormous!

We have reached out to Brittny Anderson, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, IH’s board chair, and Mayor Morrison’s office for help, but their responses have been inconclusive and unclear. Responses from the minister’s office and the IH board chair’s office were mere automated replies, which acknowledged receipt of the emails, while the mayor’s office only reported “her staff was going to look into it.” No further responses have been received.

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

Millie Harper