High hopes for dialysis patients

THEY will have him in their sights today but whether the Minister for Health can deliver to Maryborough’s dialysis lobby was unknown last night.

Paul Lucas, also deputy premier, is on the Fraser Coast today to inspect services at Maryborough and Hervey Bay hospitals.

He will also meet with members of the recently established Community Health Task Force where a bleak picture is likely to be painted for the minister.

Mr Lucas has already been made aware of the dearth of dialysis services in the region after a petition from the Dialysis at Maryborough group sent to him in January was followed by a letter from Mayor Mick Kruger last month.

Mr Kruger urged the minister to bring about the placement of dialysis machines in Maryborough, highlighting the spare capacity it would create in Hervey Bay for new patients.

It would also stem the flow of patients from the Fraser Coast to Gympie for treatment.

“This seems to be the most sensible, logical, economic and easily implemented solution,” Mr Kruger said, “to reduce high travel costs paid for by Queensland Health and reduce physical, mental and emotional trauma for patients and families.”

Each person from the Fraser Coast who has to travel for renal dialysis spends approximately 858 hours a year on the road.

Patients who go to Gympie do not go alone but travel in groups of six. It is estimated each trip costs the taxpayer about $1380.

Maryborough MP Chris Foley is optimistic Mr Lucas will see how the strain on services at Hervey Bay can be eased once he sees first-hand the capacity available at Maryborough Hospital today.

Mr Lucas, however, is not expected to make any announcements about services or the future of Maryborough Hospital today.

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