Bowen, Collinsville and Whitsunday residents with chronic kidney disease will no longer have to travel for dialysis when a new renal satellite service opens.
State Government funding of more than $300,000 has equipped the unit with three new dialysis chairs, dialysis machines including reverse osmosis water treatment.
Mackay Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Jo Whitehead welcomed the opening saying it was important the health service could respond to the immediate and growing needs of the community
Access to renal dialysis was raised as an issue by the Bowen Hospital Community Reference Group.
Chair-based renal haemodialysis is currently only available in Mackay with patients travelling up to three times a week for treatment.
The new service will initially start with two Bowen residents and will be expanded to include Collinsville and Whitsunday residents. Patients who are more acutely unwell may still be required to attend dialysis treatment in Mackay.
“Our Bowen and Whitsunday communities had expressed a strong desire for a renal service to be established in the region,”Ms Whitehead said.
“The new service means people receiving renal dialysis will no longer have to travel to Mackay for their routine treatment.
Patients located in our northern region can now be assured of a dialysis service and remain living in their communities while undergoing their daily treatment,” she said.
A specialist renal unit nurse has been appointed at Bowen Hospital to administer patient dialysis and will be supported by Mackay’s renal unit during the establishment phase.
Patients treatment will be managed by Renal Specialist in Mackay through telehealth.
The opening is welcomed by 86-year-old Bowen resident Les Irwin who has made the two-and-a-half hour drive twice weekly for almost three years with his wife Irene, who receives dialysis treatment at Mackay Base Hospital.
Mr Irwin said the addition of a renal service at Bowen Hospital is a relief and would change their lives
“Trips to Mackay for Irene’s dialysis can take four days out of our week,” Mr Irwin said.
“We find the drive very tiring and once the service is in Bowen that means no more travelling; I can drop Irene at the hospital and go home to do things that need to be done around the house,” he said.