Local renal dialysis patients will have access to life-changing equipment closer to home as the Marshall Liberal Government introduces three renal dialysis chairs at Mount Barker District Soldier’s Memorial Hospital.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the hospital’s chemotherapy unit will be converted into a dual-purpose chemotherapy and haemodialysis unit from July this year, with three chemotherapy chairs converted to dialysis chairs as an interim solution to provide care locally and ease pressure on metropolitan services.
“Following strong lobbying from the community and local MP Dan Cregan, we are in a position to make this important commitment to the people of Mount Barker,” Minister Wade said.
“Up to 12 patients will be able to receive dialysis treatment thanks to the addition of three dialysis chairs.
“The Marshall Liberal Government has committed $800,000 to fund the haemodialysis unit.
“Previously, patients in the Hills area were required to travel to either Murray Bridge or Adelaide for their dialysis treatment.
“We know that treatment for kidney failure can already be a stressful time for patients, so this new service will remove the added pressure of travelling for treatment and enable them to receive their care closer to home.
“The Marshall Government is continuing to improve regional health services in order to better support the health and wellbeing of country South Australians.”
Dan Cregan MP, Member for Kavel has been working closely with Minister Wade to bring forward the project.
“Before the state election we committed to reviewing renal services in the district if we came to government. We are now delivering on that commitment,” he said.
“We believe there are up to 10 people in the district who require renal dialysis services.
“For the people who currently have to travel to either Murray Bridge or Adelaide to receive treatment, this is a significant development.
In the 11 months since the state election, the Marshall Liberal Government has made a number of investments at the Mount Barker Hospital, including funding to enhance paediatric services, funding the 24-hour doctor service, appointing architects Russell & Yelland to prepare a hospital site masterplan and now delivering renal services.
Country Health SA (CHSA) Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer Barossa Hills and Fleurieu region, Debbie Martin, said the addition of dialysis services at Mount Barker Hospital will further improve the quality of care for the community.
“The chemotherapy unit is currently open three days a week, providing low risk chemotherapy treatments and by converting three of the six chemotherapy chairs to dialysis chairs, chemotherapy services would be able to be provided six days a week.
“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.
“Allowing access to treatment closer to home will improve the wellbeing of our patients and allow them to have more time to focus on other aspects of their lives, rather than travelling to other hospitals.
“We will be training our staff over the next few months to provide high-quality care for renal dialysis patients.”
CHSA currently has 57 dialysis chairs in 12 haemodialysis units at regional hospitals including Berri, Ceduna, Clare, Gawler, Maitland, Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, South Coast and Whyalla.