City to get dedicated renal unit

Friday, 22nd May, 2009

By Gina Wilson Renal services in the city will triple, after a plan to increase services was approved.

The NSW Health Minister gave the go ahead for an additional four chairs for Broken Hill yesterday. John Della Bosca cited a rapidly increasing case load as he delivered the $302,000 expansion news. The general manager of the Greater Western Area Health Service, Rod Wyber-Hughes, who earlier in the year said there was a rising tide of local people needing dialysis, said it was just the shot in the arm the city and hospital staff needed. "This will increase our capacity dramatically," he said. "I am very pleased. It's a fantastic achievement for all of us in the health service and especially for the families who have to go to Adelaide for treatment. "And it's a credit to the staff who never lost sight of this plan, working and re-working the plan as needed. "They have put so much work in and put in a really hard commitment." The expansion will mean four extra chairs and machines, a central water filtration unit and pre-treatment conditioner. Mr Wyber-Hughes said the benefit to patients from the expansion was twofold: patients no longer had to travel to Adelaide for dialysis, and the city now had a dedicated renal unit, making it more attractive to specialist staff. "It's a great victory for the whole community," he said. "We can treat people locally and people can be treated with their support network. "We have a better chance of recruiting staff because we are moving to a dedicated renal unit rather than two chairs in a small cupboard." Mr Della Bosca said the expansion would allow 24 people to undertake dialysis locally which was especially good news for the elderly. "Demand for dialysis services is an important issue for rural areas, where the proportion of older residents is increasing at a faster rate," he said. "Currently, some patients are travelling to Adelaide for treatment. "Dialysis services are a vital component of managing patients with renal disease, and it's important for patients that they be treated in a familiar environment, close to family and friends." The increase follows a doubling of the renal dialysis capacity in 2007, when the GWAHS introduced an afternoon shift.