Southern Highlands Renal Appeal speaks out after meeting with NSW Health Minister

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Dialysis in action.

Dialysis in action.

Members of the Southern Highlands Renal Appeal (SHRA) said there is still a way to go in the battle for a renal unit at Bowral and District Hospital. 

Members met with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, also attended by Goulburn MP Pru Goward and Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell on October 11. 

Both local members made strong representations on the need for a dialysis unit to be established at the Bowral and District Hospital, while SHRA members advanced factual information and statistics in support of such a unit.

Members said the minister was very receptive and promised to pursue the matter with South Western Sydney Local Health District.

While SHRA members were very satisfied with the tone of the meeting and reception from the minister, they said “it was obvious that South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) are preoccupied with providing services in the metropolitan area, and the Southern Highlands suffers accordingly.”

After the meeting SHRA forward a letter to the minister, thanking him and at the same time asking for a ‘working party’ meeting with South Western Sydney Local Health District to discuss the practicalities before they respond to the minister.

Chairman of the SHRA Bob Barrett said there seemed to be focus on economics rather than patient wellbeing. 

“We are still appalled by the apparent obsession with the economics of local dialysis on the part of SWSLHD, rather than the wellbeing of patients,” he said.

“Surely good patient outcomes should be paramount, or at least of equal value to efficiency.”

The SHRA believes that the funds used for recurring costs would be off-set by savings currently incurred in patient transport (taxis and non-emergency patient transport).

While members were pleased with the meeting, the fight is far from over.