The Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation has partnered with the Ponteix and Area Primary Health Care Committee for a fundraising campaign for the Ponteix Health Centre Laboratory. A letter has been mailed out to residents in Ponteix and the surrounding communities. New equipment is necessary, your help is vital. Please consider contributing to this campaign today. Call 306-778-3314. The following is the text of the letter we sent:
In rural Saskatchewan, maintaining healthcare facilities is very important. If a patient can save an hour drive each way and still have access to the healthcare they require, it makes a big difference in their quality of life. If you are able to visit the facility in Ponteix to have lab tests or to have information sent to a Doctor or Specialist for assessment, it saves time and of course – money. Further, if you are unable to travel to have these tests completed, then staying close to home is not only the best thing – it may be the only way.
The Ponteix & Area Primary Healthcare Committee, along with the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation, have agreed to work together to supply the best possible healthcare from the Health Centre in Ponteix.
The first step was to determine what is needed. The Ponteix & Area Primary Healthcare Committee has had discussions with the Cypress Health Region to establish a list of equipment needed and how many patients are presently being served. Angela Olson the manager of Rural Diagnostics for the Cypress Health Region had this to say:
“The Ponteix move from a Health Centre to a Primary Care Site has increased workload within the Ponteix diagnostic departments approximately 25% in all disciplines. Newly implemented additional nurse practitioner services will affect this number even further”.
Ponteix serves approximately 1652 patients annually in the lab and a further 178 are served by the diagnostic imaging department. Standard laboratory equipment has a lifespan of 10 years, with almost all current pieces in Ponteix being far past that date:
Recently a Hematology Analyzer was re-deployed from Leader Hospital to Ponteix. While this UNIT was an increase in technology, the analyzer was purchased in 2004 and is now at the end of its recommended lifespan. Ponteix does 568 CBC’s per year. For the practitioner a CBC gives 18 hematology parameters relating to their white and red blood cells. It is the most common of laboratory diagnostic testing.
The centrifuge is the most utilized of all lab equipment – it is required to spin all blood samples before assessment plus it spins all urine samples before microscopic analysis. Ponteix’s centrifuge, bought in 1999, spins upwards to 3600 samples per year.
The microscope, which was acquired in 1996, is used to perform differential and urine microscopic analysis. Without this capacity, practitioners would not know which blood cells exactly are abnormal or immature, and therefore they could not diagnose the patient’s symptoms and recommend treatment options.
Electrocardiograms (ECG) diagnose patients having cardiac events such as angina, myocardial infarction, tachycardia (fast heart rate), low heart rate and multiple others. Our health region is slowly working towards ECG machines that can electronically transmit ECG reports to cardiologists and specialists required for consulting. A patient presenting with chest pain would immediately have an ECG, and depending on the findings, he/she could be able to return home or would be transferred to a tertiary center for more critical events. The ECG machine was purchased in 1997 and tests approximately 127 patients annually.
Moving from “film based” diagnostic imaging to Computed Radiography (digital x-ray) is exciting for our region. CRH (Cypress Regional Hospital) has had C.R. for years and it has been implemented in all acute rural sites within our region. It eliminates staff having to maintain a film processor and to work with toxic chemicals, with C.R. being nearly maintenance free. C.R. images are uploaded digitally to RIS/PACS system, allowing any physician with a PACS account the ability to view and comment on patient images during diagnosis and referral, often decreasing the patient’s need to travel to the specialist. Patient images can be reviewed by a Radiologist sooner, without the hassle of the facility having to transport the films to CRH. The current x-ray suite in Ponteix was purchased in 1982 and does approximately 200 exams per year.
While Ponteix has never done POCT (Point of Care Testing) the convenience to practitioners to have basic chemistry or coagulation tests done onsite is beneficial. A Piccolo analyzes basic chemistry tests, while the Soren Analyzer performs INR analysis for patients on warfarin (blood thinner) therapy. These tests are currently referred to CRH for analysis.”
As you can see, the Ponteix Health Center needs to be renewed / updated. Our goal is to raise the necessary funds to purchase the equipment needed for healthcare in Ponteix. The cost of all the equipment needed, plus some renovation and electrical upgrades will be in the neighbourhood of $285,000. The bulk of this cost being the Computed Radiography (CR digital X-ray unit) and the related costs of installation.
What we are proposing is a two stage plan:
Stage one – raise $54,000 to purchase all the necessary lab equipment. Our hope is to be able to raise this amount by the end of December 2014.
Stage two – which is planned to take place in 2015 – raise the funds necessary to purchase and install a new C.R. unit and digital x-ray unit.
We are asking you to consider these projects very carefully and the numerous benefits completion of this healthcare upgrade would have for all residents, not just living in Ponteix, but all the surrounding communities as well. Donations can be made at the Ponteix Royal Bank branch or the Ponteix Innovation Credit Union branch, or by filling out and mailing the form below. Your support is needed; please give generously to help Keep Healthcare strong in Ponteix.