Major announcement: Dialysis service coming to High Prairie

Chris Clegg

South Peace News

High Prairie is getting its long-awaited dialysis service.

The announcement was made by Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro during Question Period in the Alberta Legislature Nov. 20.

Shandro was being questioned by Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn on the desperate need for the service.

Shandro said he told Alberta Health Services today “to move forward with construction of a dialysis unit in High Prairie.”

Rehn is very pleased.

“The dialysis unit in High Prairie is one of the top issues I hear from my constituents, and I am so pleased that our government has committed operating funding for our new dialysis unit,” he said on his Facebook page.

Rehn said weeks ago that the new United Conservative government would honour the previous NDP government’s wishes to provide renal dialysis service in High Prairie.

“I’ll do everything in my power to get it done. We do need to get that dialysis up and running. We need it desperately,” said Rehn.

Former Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman made the announcement in High Prairie On Feb. 6. The NDP committed $5.2 million in capital funding to build the unit but did not earmark any money for operating the unit.

Rehn met with Health Minister Tyler Shandro Oct. 23 and had another meeting with him Oct. 28 to try and move the issue forward.

An excited Rehn all but made the announcement before Question Period with a phone call to South Peace News in the early afternoon. He said he would question Shandro on the matter. Normally, hard questions are not asked by members of a sitting government unless good news is ready to break.

Rehn said he “hopes the constituency understands” how hard he has worked on the issue and that “it hasn’t been an easy battle.”

No figure was quoted as to cost of operating the unit, nor a timeline.

South Peace News hopes to provide more details in the coming days.

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