Dialysis announcement brings relief to many

Chris Clegg
Richard Froese
South Peace News

“It’s a good feeling that the lobbying can pay off,” says Town of High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk.

“Better late than never!”

The “pay off” being the announcement Nov. 20 that High Prairie is finally getting its life-saving renal dialysis service after decades of lobbying.

“It’s fantastic,” adds Panasiuk. “It will be a great addition to our hospital and great for patients who need the service.

“It just makes our hospital that much more of a hospital. More services in our hospital is good.”

Other community and health leaders are delighted with the commitment.

Big Lakes County Reeve Richard Simard says the community has been waiting a long time for dialysis in High Prairie.

“It’s something that’s very well needed,” Simard says.

“This was in the works about 10 years ago, even before the new hospital was built.”

He is grateful for all the dedicated people involved in lobbying efforts.

“We owe a lot to all the volunteers who worked behind the scenes,” Simard says.

“They never gave up. I want to thank all of them.”

Longtime physician Dr. Robin Laughlin is relieved that dialysis will arrive soon.

“It’s great that it will be coming,” says Laughlin, a physician in High Prairie for 44 years.

“We’ve been waiting for it for 15 years for sure.”

Dialysis in High Prairie will save local patients a lot of time, he says.

“People won’t need to spend up to six hours a day two days a week travelling for appointments.

He says patients are currently travelling to Slave Lake, Peace River or Grande Prairie for treatment.

“It will be a big advantage to patients and those driving the patients,” Laughlin says.

“That’s the best news I’ve heard in quite a while,” says George Keay, who chairs the High Prairie and District Health Foundation.

“Mr. Rehn deserves a ‘Pat’ on the back for bringing dialysis to the front of discussion with the government.”

He says the community has worked hard for many years to bring dialysis services to High Prairie.

High Prairie Health Care Auxiliary president Diana Oliver is also elated.

“I think it’s incredible that all the efforts by the community and region have been acknowledged by the government and its departments that our area is in serious need dialysis and diabetes services,” Oliver says.

She also acknowledged the work of the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council group and director of health Kirsten Sware who made the need become reality.

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