Meeting next week first step in dialysis fight

Charters Towers will take control of its long-running fight to secure supported haemodialysis services for the town, with the inaugural Charters Towers Dialysis Support and Lobby Group taking place next week.

State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter, who will chair the meeting, said few issues were quite as emotional across his electorate as the chronic lack of support and services for dialysis patients in Charters Towers.

He said the argument by the Townsville Hospital and Health Services that there was no need for local dialysis services was demonstrably false.

“Earlier this year my office confirmed that there were 11 people in the Towers region either dialysing at home or being forced to travel to Townsville for treatment two or three times a week for their treatment,” Mr Katter said.

“That’s 11 people too many, but even if it was only one or two people – that’s still two people too many in my opinion.

“The health and quality of life of people cannot be just a numbers game when it comes to vital services like dialysis.

“People are either being forced to go through constant trips to and from Townsville, exhausting themselves and their loved ones, or they are forced to move away altogether.

“The sad truth is others are just refusing the trips and treatment all together, and after that they don’t often last long – it’s a tragic outcome and not good enough for a first would country like ours.”

Mr Katter said Bowen, which is comparable to Charters Towers in terms of population, location and services, had commenced delivery of chair-based renal haemodialysis services through its new renal satellite service in March.

It cost around $300,000 to set up, including three new dialysis chairs, dialysis machines including reverse osmosis water treatment.

A specialist renal unit nurse was also appointed at the Bowen Hospital to administer the service.

Mr Katter said the was a very strong consensus across town that Charters Towers patients needed to be able to access to dialysis at the Towers Hospital, and a lobbying action plan to make this happen would be a large part of discussions at the meeting next week.

Dialysis patients and their loved ones will also be able to use the opportunity to discuss their experiences and share advice with one another.

The first Charters Towers Dialysis Support and Lobby Group will take place next Tuesday, August 27, at 4-5pm at the Stock Exchange Arcade.

All are welcome to attend, especially those who are currently or soon to be accessing dialysis services as well as their loved ones and carers.

Unaffected community members and representatives are also welcome.

If possible, please advise of your attendance by calling ahead to 07 4787 2139 or emailing [email protected]

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