The first dialysis patient has today been treated at the Mount Barker District Soldier’s Memorial Hospital thanks to the installation of three haemodialysis chairs.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said that local renal dialysis patients in Mount Barker now have access to a life-changing service closer to home.
“It’s fantastic to see for the first time local patients receiving dialysis treatment in the Hills area rather than travelling to Murray Bridge or Adelaide,” Minister Wade said.
“Up to 12 patients each week will be able to receive dialysis treatment in the dual-purpose chemotherapy and haemodialysis unit.
“The Marshall Liberal Government committed $800,000 to fund the haemodialysis unit to better support the health and wellbeing of country South Australians.
“We know that treatment for kidney failure is a stressful time for patients. This new service removes the added pressure of travelling for treatment and enables them to receive their care closer to home.”
Member for Kavel Dan Cregan said that he had been working closely with Minister Wade to ensure renal services were delivered locally.
“Local renal dialysis services are vital for our growing hills community. This was an issue that people raised with me when I was out doorknocking our community before the election. We committed to examining the feasibility of this project before the election and now we are delivering,” Mr Cregan said.
Mr Cregan added that the renal dialysis service was part of a significant investment by the Marshall Liberal Government in local healthcare.
“In the first fifteen months of the new State Government we have funded an ongoing contract for 24 hour doctor services, appointed Russell and Yelland architects to design a new masterplan for the Mt Barker hospital, made more funds available for paediatrics and secured funding from the Commonwealth for an emergency department upgrade,” Mr Cregan said.
Chief Executive Officer Barossa Hills and Fleurieu region, Rebecca Graham, said the addition of dialysis services at Mount Barker Hospital will further improve the quality of care for the community.
“Patients on haemodialysis require treatment in hospital three times a week for up to four or five hours each time, which is a significant burden on the patient when having to travel out of their local area,” Ms Graham said.
“Allowing access to treatment closer to home will improve the wellbeing of our patients and enable them to have time to focus on other aspects of their lives, rather than travelling to other hospitals.
“The chemotherapy unit has been converted into a dual-purpose chemotherapy and haemodialysis unit, with three chemotherapy chairs converted to dialysis chairs to provide care locally and ease pressure on metropolitan services.
“The chemotherapy unit was previously open three days a week, providing low risk chemotherapy treatments, and by converting three of the six chemotherapy chairs to dialysis chairs, we can now provide chemotherapy services six days a week.”
There are currently 57 dialysis chairs in 12 haemodialysis units across regional hospitals including Berri, Ceduna, Clare, Gawler, Maitland, Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, South Coast and Whyalla.