Nova Scotia’s health minister has toured the region’s largest dialysis unit, after a patient told CTV News the conditions at the hospital are unacceptable.

Tim Nickerson has been visiting the dialysis unit at the Victoria General site of the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax three days a week for the past two years.

Last month, he told CTV News the unit is so old, dirty and lacking equipment that he wants to take the premier on a personal tour of the facility.

At the time, Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine said it was his responsibility to look into the matter, and offered to tour the facility. He made good on his promise on Tuesday.

“It shows a lot of faith on his part to actually want to make the changes,” says Nickerson, who met with Glavine before the tour.

“The tour certainly reveals an old building, very crowded, very busy,” says Glavine. “Very dynamic unit that certainly is beckoning for a day when there is a new unit.”

Glavine and the patients agree that staff at the dialysis unit are going a great job with patient care, but there are issues with the facility itself.

The Nova Scotia government announced $420,000 in funding for the design of a new dialysis unit at the Halifax Infirmary two years ago.

Health officials hope that will alleviate some of the crowding, but a completed facility is still nearly two years away.

“I’ve been advocating very hard with the government for the last three years for better dialysis facilities in Nova Scotia,” says Dr. Ken West, the chief of nephrology for Capital Health.

“The Halifax Infirmary is one of those new dialysis facilities.”

Nickerson wanted to be the one to show Glavine the facility, so he would see it from a patient’s perspective, but he wasn’t permitted. He did speak with Glavine before and after the tour, however.

“If I’m able to sit there and go ‘look, that’s a problem.’ He can look around and understand that’s a problem,” says Nickerson.

Nickerson says he is thankful for the opportunity to point out possibilities for short-term improvements, such as more equipment and better esthetics. He has also asked other patients to provide lists of their ideas.

“Give me those lists. If I have to, I’ll walk right into the legislature, right into the chamber, and go ‘here you go Mr. Minister.’ He really wants to be open and have a lot of communication. That’s a good start.”

Glavine says he intends to be a hands-on minister and plans to drop by hospitals and nursing homes to ensure patients and residents are receiving proper care.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell