13 extra renal chairs for Townsville

Patients receiving treatment at the Townsville University Hospital’s renal unit will soon be receiving the ‘gold standard’ in renal care thanks to a $4.8 million expansion officially opened today by Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles.

Mr Miles said the expansion, which would deliver an additional 13 renal chairs to the unit, was about providing world-class health facilities to the people of north Queensland.

“Townsville’s renal unit has gone from 17 to 30 chairs which will benefit patients across north Queensland now and into the future,” Mr Miles said.

“Townsville renal unit has continued to treat patients all the way through COVID-19, because, whether we’re in a pandemic or not, patients with renal failure still require regular treatment.

“I want to thank all the hard-working frontline health staff here in Townsville who have continued to deliver the best care.”

Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the increased capacity also meant the unit would provide provisions for immediate emergency haemodialysis.

“The unit currently sees between 45 and 50 patients each day,” she said.

“Increasing the capacity means staff will be able to allocate a dedicated chair to be used in emergencies which is great news for patients.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the expanded renal unit started seeing patients on April 6 with six additional beds, with a staged increase to 13 chairs.

“All 13 additional chars are expected to be operational by mid-2020,” he said.

“Patients with complex renal failure are now seen in a modern, comfortable, culturally appropriate space.”

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the $4.8 million renal expansion followed the opening of the $5.9 million expansion of the endoscopy unit last year.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to investing in healthcare to ensure people in Townsville and Far North Queensland have access to the best possible care,” he said.

“Townsville Hospital Foundation also contributed a further $232,700 towards the unit after successfully applying for a commemorative grant from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund for dialysis machines and blood monitors.”

Townsville Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Tony Mooney said the expansion would contribute to the health service’s commitment to Closing the Gap.

“This expansion is in line with our firm commitment to Closing the Gap in health outcomes for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients who make up a disproportionately large number of patients who require treatment through this unit,” Mr Mooney said.

“The team has also recently welcomed two Indigenous health workers to the unit to help support our First Nations patients.”

Townsville University Hospital renal clinical director Dr George Kan said the additional chairs meant patients would receive their dialysis in more streamlined hours of operation, for longer.

“Our unit currently runs for seven days per week with three, four-hour sessions each day,” he said.

“The additional capacity will mean we will be able to comfortably run two sessions, six days per week, while giving our patients the option of a five-hour dialysis if they wish.

“While four hours still gives our patients the necessary medical outcomes, five-hour sessions really are the ‘gold standard’ in dialysis.”

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