by Phil Ambroziak

An announcement made as part of last year’s provincial budget is finally starting to come to fruition.

On March 11, the government announced residents in Saskatchewan’s northwest will soon have improved access to hemodialysis and kidney wellness services as a result of the Saskatchewan Health Authority moving forward with plans for construction of a six-station hemodialysis unit in Meadow Lake.

“We are so happy to hear this news,” remarked Gina Gladue of Flying Dust First Nation.

Gladue regularly accompanies her husband, Alfred, to Saskatoon where he receives dialysis treatment.

“I told my husband (the news) and he is ecstatic,” Gladue continued. “After travelling back-and-forth three times a week, it takes a toll on your body and your family… we’ve been doing this since January and were planning on moving to Saskatoon so it would be easier on my husband, but now we won’t have to.”

By having a hemodyalisis unit situated in Meadow Lake, it will mean less stress on many families noted Meadow Lake MLA Jeremy Harrison.

“We are bringing this life-sustaining treatment closer to home so patients won’t have to travel long distances,” Harrison said.

The new 2,300-square-foot hemodialysis unit will be developed on the second floor of Meadow Lake Hospital, adjacent to the outpatient services, and will provide treatment to 12 patients. In addition to hemodialysis, the unit will provide kidney wellness services.

According to Meadow Lake mayor Merlin Seymour, this is tremendous news for people throughout the region.

“We heard this service would be coming when last year’s provincial budget was announced, but sometimes these things take time,” Seymour said.
The provincial government allocated funding of $700,000 in 2019-20 to support the capital costs associated with the project. Additional funding will be provided in 2020-21 for further capital expenditures and operating costs. The estimated construction cost is approximately $1.4 million.

A request for proposal for design services will be issued in the coming weeks. Construction is expected to begin by summer with a target completion date by winter.

“Finally there is something to look forward to for patients who have gloomy days and can’t see beyond the bad day they are having,” Gladue concluded.