Dialysis bottleneck

A LOCAL dialysis patient is calling for increased dialysis services in Sale after she spent almost two months travelling to Melbourne and Traralgon hospitals to access treatment.

Robyn Dewar from Stradbroke said she stayed at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne for more than three weeks, as she claimed there were no vacancies in dialysis at Central Gippsland Health Service, Sale.

The CGHS dialysis unit has eight chairs, operating six days a week and the current operational model used by the hospital allows it to treat up to 20 dialysis patients.

Ms Dewar said she suffered from a long-standing hereditary kidney condition which required her to start peritoneal dialysis this year.

“I’ve been doing peritoneal dialysis since July and it stopped working in September,” she said.

Ms Dewar said her condition changed which required her to undertake haemodialysis.

She said she went to St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne for haemodialysis until a vacancy became available in Traralgon.

“I was driving (to Traralgon) three days a week for dialysis,” Ms Dewar said.

“I’m not the only one (who had to travel for dialysis). There are a lot of people travelling (to Melbourne).

“You’re dealing with enough without having to travel that distance.”

According to Central Gippsland Health Service chief executive Frank Evans, CGHS is notified about who is going to require a place in the CGHS dialysis unit as soon as that patient starts dialysis in Melbourne.

Dr Evans said the service was committed to caring for patients from its catchment area who needed dialysis treatment.

He acknowledged that at times, “because of demand, patients need to travel to Bairnsdale or Traralgon to access dialysis services until we can organise to provide additional dialysis sessions”.

“One patient who was treated at Bairnsdale for a short while has now returned,” Dr Evans said.

“An increase in specialised nursing staff in the near future will improve this situation.”

Dr Evans said all Gippsland hospitals worked together to ensure dialysis patients could be moved closer to home as soon as possible.

He said once a position became vacant in the unit, it was filled as soon as possible.

Ms Dewar, now a dialysis patient at Sale hospital, said she hoped her position in Sale’s dialysis regime was permanent.

“I’m at Sale hospital now. It is a big relief travel wise and financially,” Ms Dewar said.