More rural renal services for North Queensland

Published Monday, 01 November, 2021 at 07:00 AM

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Infrastructure upgrades at Ingham and Charters Towers Hospitals will deliver eight renal chairs to bring care closer to home for patients receiving haemodialysis for renal failure and kidney disease. 

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D'Ath said Hutchinson Builders would begin construction on two satellite renal dialysis units at each facility this month (1 November and 8 November).

The new chairs are being funded through a $4 million injection of funds from the Queensland Government’s Rural and Regional Renal Program.

Minister D’Ath said the start of these works signalled a new era in healthcare for the Ingham and Charters Towers residents who have been travelling to Townsville to receive haemodialysis. 

‘‘Patients in Charters Towers and Ingham currently travel up to an hour and a half for a four to five-hour treatment session at Townsville University Hospital,” she said.

‘‘These brand-new, four-chair units will relieve the pressure of disruptive travel on patients living with renal failure and kidney disease and their families.”

Minister D’Ath said establishing these units in rural communities would further the Queensland Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap.

‘‘Today’s announcement strengthens our commitment to Closing the Gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients who make up a disproportionately large number of patients who require haemodialysis.”

Townsville Hospital and Health Service chief executive Kieran Keyes said renal failure was a complex chronic disease to treat and the level of care required was determined by the damage to the kidneys.

“Some patients may require care that can only be delivered at a tertiary-level facility like Townsville University Hospital but for others, their care will be provided locally.

Mr Keyes said the units would be completed and operational in the first half of 2022.

‘‘Being able to access renal dialysis locally is an important milestone for Ingham and Charters Towers,’’ Mr Keyes said.

‘‘As with any service, it’s about more than just bricks and mortar, so recruitment is underway for specialist renal nurses at both health services to ensure the care delivered is safe.’’

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