Patients with kidney disease will no longer have to travel to Nepean Hospital for dialysis when a new renal service is set up at Katoomba Hospital.
The six-chair satellite unit was promised by the Liberal government in the 2015 state election campaign. Now, the promise is being kept.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health, Leslie Williams, made the announcement at the hospital last week.
Two long-term patients – Mario Ackermans and Melissa Hodges – were delighted with the news.
“I just can’t believe it,” Mr Ackermans said. He and Ms Hodges both travel to Nepean from Katoomba three days a week for a five-hour dialysis session.
Ms Hodges has been doing the 100-plus kilometre round trip for two years. “It’s horrible,” she said.
Both hope to benefit when the new $4.7 million unit is opened. They will also be consulted during the design phase on the sort of facilities they would like to see included in the unit.
“We will be talking to people who need to use the dialysis unit and people who will be staffing it to ensure the new unit meets the needs of the community now and well into the future,” Mrs Williams said.
“Today confirms the NSW Government’s commitment to deliver world-class health services to communities in the Blue Mountains region.”
The unit will have six chairs, which will accommodate up to 24 people from the Mountains and Lithgow.
Mrs Williams said the Mountains deserved world-class health services.
“These people have a challenging diagnosis anyway and have to have life-saving treatment. It’s hard enough as it is without having to travel those long distances as well.
“It’s going to make such an enormous difference to their lives.”
Head of renal medicine at Nepean Hospital, Dr Kamal Sud, said his patients were “very thrilled” at the news.
It’s hard enough as it is without having to travel those long distances as well. It’s going to make such an enormous difference to their lives.Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health, Leslie Williams
The Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, said the state-of-the-art unit will give patients a better quality of life.
Planning is already underway for the new unit, with construction scheduled for next year.