KIDNEY disease kills over 3 million Australians a year and the need for dialysis is increasing as our population ages with 7% of people over 65 needing treatment according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
This trend has prompted a group of local kidney dialysis patients to meet with Port Stephens MP Kate Washington, who has recently been appointed Shadow Minister for the Environment, Heritage, and Rural Health, to discuss the growing need for dialysis services on the Tomaree Peninsula.
Currently, residents needing dialysis have to travel to Newcastle two to three times a week with the treatment process taking over five hours per session.
Ms Washington said that after meeting with patients in Port Stephens it was clear that it was time for local services to be made available.
“The meeting with local dialysis patients confirmed to me that there is a desperate need for dialysis services on the Tomaree Peninsula,” said Ms Washigton.
“For people who are dependent on dialysis this is an essential health service, it keeps them alive, but the kilometres they are forced to travel to access the treatment is taking a toll.”
Prior to the March state election Ms Washington and NSW Labor committed to expanding the services at Tomaree Community Hospital to include dialysis.
The Liberal Government chose not to match the commitment and as a result there are no plans for dialysis at the site.
Ms Washington has sought a meeting with the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to discuss the desperate need for local dialysis services in Port Stephens.
“I’ve asked the Health Minister for a meeting in the hope that we can work together to see this desperately needed service delivered locally,” said Ms Washington.
“There are many dialysis patients currently living in Port Stephens and these numbers are only likely to increase.”
By Mitch Lees