A re-elected Nationals Government will invest $15.3 million to roll out six new state-of-the-art mobile dialysis buses across rural and regional NSW, in a huge boost to dialysis services in the bush.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the NSW Nationals are committed to ensuring families can get the care they need as close as possible to home.
“Living with chronic kidney disease can be difficult and incredibly demanding on patients and their families,” Mr Toole said.
“The majority of patients who receive dialysis need treatment three to five times a week. For patients and their carers in regional areas this can mean hours on the road every week, and time away from their loved ones and communities.
“This will not only make life easier for patients and their families, but also reduce out-of-pocket costs – the last thing people undergoing treatment should be worrying about.”
Nationals’ Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor said establishing mobile dialysis services will mean for weeks at a time people will be able to receive treatment in their local community.
“These buses will be fitted out with dialysis machines and comfortable chairs for patients to receive the care they need, and will be staffed with specialist nurses,” Mrs Taylor said.
“Patients will be able to receive the same level of care from highly trained renal nurses in the buses as they would in a dialysis unit in our hospitals, making a huge difference to thousands of people across regional NSW.”
Kidney Health Australia CEO, Chris Forbes, said his organisation was supportive of the government’s commitment to increasing dialysis services across NSW.
“Kidney disease is an incredibly debilitating disease so enabling people in regional areas to access life-saving dialysis treatment while also minimising their travel time and out-of-pocket costs will be of enormous benefit,” Mr Forbes said.
“Our Big Red Kidney Bus mobile dialysis program is much loved by our kidney community as it gives them the freedom to travel beyond their treating clinic, a freedom so many of us take for granted and which can significantly improve their quality of life.”
As part of this commitment, four state-of-the-art mobile dialysis units will be built, and will operate right across regional NSW including parts of Western NSW, across the Riverina and Murray, Southern NSW, the Upper Hunter and the Northern Tablelands.
A re-elected NSW Nationals Government will also provide additional funding to Kidney Health Australia to expand coverage across the North Coast and the South Coast.
The NSW Government last year significantly increased the financial support available to patients from regional communities travelling for medical treatment as part of a major investment in the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme.
The $149.5 million expansion of the scheme means eligible patients are now receiving almost double the subsidy towards accommodation costs and private vehicle use where they travel more than 100 kilometres for care.
In the first six months of the expanded scheme, 26,800 patients received more than $16 million in financial support.