The state health minister has agreed to take further steps to ensure Highlands renal patients are adequately supported.
Southern Highlands Renal Appeal (SHRA) members met with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell and Goulburn MP Pru Goward on Wednesday, October 11 to discuss creating a renal unit at Bowral and District Hospital.
At present, Highlands dialysis patients have to travel out of the shire to hospitals, such as Fairfield, Liverpool or Campbelltown for treatment.
SHRA members have been working for the past 15 years to raise funds to assist the government in creating a renal unit at Bowral and District Hospital. However, the government has stated that there are still “no plans” for a renal unit at the hospital.
However, things may change now that the SHRA have met with Mr Hazzard, backed by the support of Highlands’ MPs. Ms Goward arranged the meeting with Mr Hazzard and said she was pleased with the outcome.
“It was a very good meeting. Brad Hazzard is a very responsive minister and he has undertaken to look at our concerns seriously and get some answers,” she said.
Mr Hazzard said Mr Rowell, Ms Goward and the SHRA put a “strong case” for renal facilities locally forward.
“The challenge I have now is to get more details on how many people live in and around the area that need dialysis but are heading off to other hospitals,” Mr Hazzard said.
“I have sent NSW Health officials away to come back with further information, so sensible decisions can be made.”
Mr Rowell said he believed renal services at Bowral and District Hospital were necessary.
“It was a really positive meeting. I think it was a small victory at this stage and we are looking forward to winning the issue,” he said.
“I feel that the group and myself got a really good hearing and the minister gave the commitment that he would look into the issue in detail to see what could be done.”
Mr Rowell said the issue of travel for renal patients was highlighted in the discussion as well as the aging population in the Highlands.
“It is time to do something about this,” he said.
“We have an elderly population and a growing population and demand is only going to increase.”