McGuinty government invests in life-saving dialysis treatment in James Bay area

Archived Release

McGuinty government invests in life-saving dialysis treatment in James Bay area

Ministry of Health

Funding support new dialysis unit at Weeneebayko General MOOSE FACTORY, ON, Aug. 7 - The McGuinty government is providing critical treatment to northern Ontarians with diabetes and kidney disease by investing in a satellite dialysis unit at the Weeneebayko General Hospital in Moose Factory, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman announced today. "With this investment, James Bay area residents will benefit from life- saving dialysis treatment closer to home and their loved ones," said Smitherman. "This will improve the lives of community residents suffering the devastating effects of diabetes and kidney failure." This investment of $1.07 million, together with the $250,000 raised by the local community, will support the construction of a six-station hemodialysis unit at Moose Factory's Weeneebayko General Hospital operated as a satellite of the Kingston General Hospital. Construction will begin in January 2005 and the unit will be fully operational by April 2005. "This will significantly improve the health and well-being of people living in northern communities," said Michael Bryant, Ontario's Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Native Affairs. "This is part of our government's plan to work with First Nations peoples to meet the unique needs of their communities across the province." The rate of diabetes among Aboriginal people in northern Ontario is three to five times higher than for other Ontarians. Aboriginal children in the North are also now being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a condition that in the past occurred mainly in older persons. In total, there were over 57,000 adults living with diabetes in Northern Ontario in 2002. Ontarians with diabetes are 12 times more likely to need dialysis than people without diabetes. "The people in the James Bay area requested dialysis treatment in their own community, and we listened," said Smitherman. "The community is fully behind this initiative and has raised a quarter million dollars to make it happen. With this new unit, the people in this area will have one more resource to help them deal with the devastating effects of diabetes." This news release is available on our website at: http://www.health.gov.on.ca Version fran├žaise disponible Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ENHANCING ACCESS TO SERVICES FOR PEOPLE WITH LIFE-THREATENING CONDITIONS The McGuinty government has a plan to improve access to quality health care for people in their own communities, as close to home as possible. This commitment includes improving access to care in Northern Ontario and meeting the unique health care needs of Northern Ontarians. For example, through a new satellite dialysis unit at the Weeneebayko General Hospital, the government is increasing access to local dialysis treatment for James Bay area residents. Dialysis treatment is important for treating various medical illnesses, including end stage renal disease and diabetes-related illness. For example, diabetes is a leading cause of kidney disease and in Ontario, people with diabetes make up six percent of the population, but they account for 51 per cent of new dialysis cases. In March 2004, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care approved funding to build a six-station hemodialysis satellite unit at Weeneebayko General Hospital. The province will provide $760,000 in capital funding and nearly $314,000 in one-time funding for equipment and furniture for the new unit. The James Bay Dialysis Advocacy Group has successfully completed fundraising for the community's share of the project, raising a total of $250,000. Initially, the hospital will operate three stations to treat eight patients, however, the number of patients in pre-dialysis programs indicates an increasing number of James Bay area residents will need dialysis treatment in the years to come. Currently, between 40 to 60 patients from the James Bay area living with abnormal kidney functions are being monitored by medical specialists. Approximately 10 per cent of these patients will start hemodialysis on an annual basis - in other words, four to six new patients a year. It is expected the Weeneebayko General Hospital, Moose Factory satellite hemodialysis unit will be operational in April 2005.For further information: Members of the media: Eva Lannon, Minister's Office, (416) 327-4320; Dan Strasbourg, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197; Members of the general public: (416) 327-4327, or (800) 268-1154