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Nephrology centre opens at Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Hospital

MONCTON, N.B. – Premier Bernard Lord opened the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Hospital’s new $6-million nephrology centre in early December 2005. The centre now houses 54 dialysis stations, as well as treatment and consultation rooms.

In February 2005, Lord announced that the government would invest $2 million to help fund construction of the centre. That sum was in addition to the more than $800,000 the government had contributed in May 2003 for the purchase of dialysis equipment at the hospital.

The Premier noted that the nephrology centre had been funded through equal contributions of $2 million from the New Brunswick government, the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Hospital Foundation and the Beauséjour Regional Health Authority.

“Today we once again see a good example of the importance of co-operation between government, regional hospital authorities and hospital foundations,” Lord said. “It is thanks to this type of collaboration that the government can continue to offer New Brunswickers the healthcare they need.”

“As a key partner, the foundation is very proud to contribute $2 million toward the completion of the nephrology centre expansion project,” said Philippe DesRosiers, chair of the board of trustees of the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Hospital Foundation. “The support of generous donors and volunteers constitutes a major investment in improving the quality of life for patients both today and in the future.”

Adélard R. Cormier, chair of the board of trustees of the Beauséjour Regional Health Authority, said the renovations and the construction of an annex to the nephrology centre make it possible to treat an increasing number of patients suffering from kidney failure annually.

More and more people require access to dialysis treatments. This increased demand is associated with the aging population and the rising number of diabetes cases. Diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic illness in New Brunswick.

In addition to contributing to the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Hospital nephrology centre, the government set aside $3 million in its last budget for the establishment of satellite dialysis units in Bath, Sussex, Dalhousie and Tracadie-Sheila. This initiative is part of the Provincial Health Plan, Healthy Futures.

Premier Bernard Lord also attended the unveiling of a nuclear medicine dual-head gamma camera, said to be the first equipment of its kind in Canada, at The Moncton Hospital.

“As stated in our Provincial Health Plan, Healthy Futures, we are committed to providing New Brunswickers with better access to quality healthcare and services through investments in priority medical diagnostic equipment and technology,” Lord said. “The nuclear medicine dual-head gamma camera will improve healthcare for New Brunswickers by providing new opportunities for physicians to detect tumours and cardiac diseases earlier, more precisely and more reliably.”

The provincial government invested $890,000 in the new high-tech equipment.

“This new piece of equipment further positions the South-East Regional Health Authority, and in particular The Moncton Hospital, as a leading trauma and critical-care centre for the Maritimes,” said Donald J. Peters, president and CEO of the South-East Regional Health Authority. “The capital equipment investments made by government have allowed us to acquire the latest and most up-to-date technology to better serve the citizens of New-Brunswick.”

The nuclear medicine dual head gamma camera combines SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) and diagnostic CT (computed tomography) technologies. This combination aligns the functional sensitivity of a SPECT system with the detailed anatomical information provided by diagnostic multi-slice CT systems.

For example, in a patient with thyroid cancer, the highly sensitive SPECT procedure can be used to determine whether the disease has spread to another organ. If the tumour has spread, CT images generated with the hybrid system can be used to localize the spreading cancer.

In cardiology, the combined technology offers valuable information regarding cardiac function and blood circulation. After a person has had a heart attack, the system enables fast and precise determination of the location and degree of damage to the heart muscle due to insufficient blood supply.

Lord said investing in new technology is a priority of his government in order to provide better care to New Brunswickers, and to reduce wait times by providing better diagnoses and treatment options.

“This year we have invested $35.48 million in new medical equipment and technology to ensure that New Brunswickers receive the care they need, when they need it.”