Keppel kidney patients benefit from $5.7m hospital promise
THE Capricorn Coast’s kidney patients could be saved the arduous journey to Rockhampton Hospital for treatment after Labor pledged on Tuesday morning to invest $5.7 million to establish a satellite renal dialysis unit at Yeppoon’s Capricorn Coast Hospital.
Labor’s incumbent candidate for Keppel Brittany Lauga said if Labor won the October 31 election, she would ensure eight treatment spaces, and the support nurses to go with them, were created at the hospital as soon as possible – potentially helping hundreds of patients weekly, like James who she met yesterday.
“This is a really important day for anyone on the Capricorn Coast who has kidney disease and requires dialysis on sometimes a daily basis, who have to travel to Rockhampton,” Ms Lauga said.
“I was talking to James last night, a patient who has spent years travelling to Rockhampton, many times weekly, in order to have that dialysis treatment.
“That travel means that he’s spending up to nine-and-a-half hours in the car, each and every week to have that treatment.
“When you’re sick, nine-and-a-half hours of travel is really, really challenging. He cried when I told him the good news.”
She said not only was James having to make the trip, but his wife as well, making the announcement potential beneficial for many in the community in a supporting or caring role.
Ms Lauga said this latest election pledge was something she had fought to secure for some time now, future-proofing the hospital for future population growth.
See the full press conference here.
“This will also take pressure off the renal dialysis unit at Rockhampton Hospital, so it has capacity to cater for future growth in demand,” she said.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s record is clear – we will continue to deliver the very best health care closer to home for locals.”
This latest pledge came in addition to Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles’ announcement last week for a $31 million upgrade of the Rockhampton Hospital (for a new hybrid cardiac theatre and mental health ward) and $5.5 million for a new North Rockhampton ambulance station if Labor was re-elected.
Mr Miles said the investment would mean care closer to home for Queenslanders needing dialysis in the Yeppoon region.
“I know it is tough on the people who have to travel to receive dialysis and their families,” Mr Miles said.
“Brittany Lauga has told me about patients in Yeppoon who have to travel to and from Rockhampton for regular treatment.
“This investment is about providing better care closer to home for Queenslanders, no matter where they live.
“Labor will invest a total of $33.5 million to expand renal dialysis across regional, rural and remote areas of Queensland, delivering 41 additional treatment spaces across seven new services and one expanded service.”
Minister for Science Leeanne Enoch said only Labor would continue to invest in world-class health care for Central Queenslanders.
“Since 2015 we’ve hired 114 more doctors, 265 more nurses and midwives, 37 more health professionals and 29 more paramedics in Central Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.
“And we have committed to hire even more.
“A re-elected Labor Government will hire 47 more doctors, 285 more nurses and midwives and 47 more health professionals across Central Queensland.”
Minister Glenn Butcher said the Labor Government had restored health services across regional Queensland.
“We have worked hard to rebuild our health services and frontline staff after the LNP cut them,” Mr Butcher said.
“When the LNP was last in government and Deb Frecklington was Assistant Treasurer, they sacked 197 staff from Central Queensland hospitals, including 41 nurses.
“Deb Frecklington and the LNP would only be able to achieve their goal of a surplus in four years by cuts.
“What health services and which staff would they cut from Yeppoon Hospital?
“Only the Palaszczuk Labor Government will continue to properly invest in health care for Central Queenslanders.”
LNP Candidate for Keppel, Adrian De Groot said Labor yesterday announced a $1 billion cut to the Health Budget.
“Do you really believe they’ll be spending $6 million on a renal unit in Yeppoon?” Mr de Groot asked.
“There is no mention of this unit in the costings released yesterday.
“The LNP has a fully costed plan to clear surgery waiting lists - Rockhampton Hospital’s wait list has increased by more than 50% under Labor. Almost 2000 people are waiting for life-changing surgery because Labor cannot be trusted to run the health system.
“The LNP will spend $10.7 million to clear the waiting list in this region.”
Creating greater awareness about kidney disease in November
During the month of November, Australians will be asked to pull on red socks and roam, run or ride 60kms to support people living with kidney disease.
Kidney disease is an insidious and deadly disease that affects 1.7 million Australians.
Kidney Health Australia, the peak body for kidney disease, is launching the Kidney Health Red Socks Appeal on Monday, November 2 to galvanise more Australians into action to understand the impact of the disease on their lives and those close to them, and raise vital funds for early detection activities and support services to alleviate the impact and harm it causes.
Aussies are being asked to step out on their own or with friends and take on a 60km challenge during the month of November, in support of those living with the daily challenges of this debilitating and deadly disease.
Kidney Health Australia CEO, Chris Forbes said the idea behind the Red Socks Appeal was to recognize the countless hours that people of all ages with kidney failure spend hooked to a life-saving dialysis machine to help clean their body of toxins.
“A little-known fact about kidney disease is that people with kidney failure can spend 60 hours or more a month hooked to a dialysis machine to keep them alive,” Mr Forbes said.
“Dialysis machines basically clean the blood of toxins so it’s filtered out of the body and then
returned, and this takes on average 5 hours at a time, three times a week.
“This process plus the long hours in the chair can leave patients feeling fatigued and quite cold, so a blanket and a warm pair of socks is a must to get them through it.
“We’d love people to put themselves in the ‘socks’ of someone living with kidney disease and take on a different type of challenge by either walking, running or riding 60kms to raise money for our courageous kidney community.”
For those keen to take on a more extreme challenge, the Red Socks Appeal also offers a 150km challenge – the equivalent of 30 dialysis sessions a month – for those who’d like to show an even greater commitment to the cause.
Mr Forbes says of the 1.7 million Australians affected by kidney disease, 1.5 million are unaware they are living with the early signs of the disease.
“The shocking fact about kidney disease is that a person can lose up to 90 per cent of their kidney function before any symptoms are apparent,” Mr Forbes said.
“A person could be relatively fine one day and the next they could be in hospital facing a life
sentence of continuous dialysis or on a transplant list, waiting for a suitable kidney donor.
“We need to prevent people reaching this point so the Red Sock Appeal is also a great opportunity to raise more awareness around the impact this disease has on people’s lives and that of their families and drive early detection.”
To find out more and register for the Kidney Health Red Socks Appeal, visit kidney.org.au/redsocksappeal