In the wake of Kidney Health Week Australia, it is important to think about those in our community who suffer from some type of kidney disease.
More often than not, those with kidney disease need to undertake dialysis.
Dialysis is a treatment that does some of the things healthy kidneys usually do. It is needed when your own kidneys can no longer take care of your body's needs.
At present there are more than 20 people in the Southern Highlands who have to travel at least three times a week to Fairfield, Campbelltown or Liverpool for treatment.
Even though the community has been promised a a full satellite dialysis unit at Bowral hospital, there are still no concrete plans for its development.
During Kidney Health Week the big red kidney bus visited our coastal neighbours in Kiama.
The bus will be in Kiama for almost a month, and provides a mobile haemodialysis service, allowing those who require haemodialysis the chance to have a holiday whilst still receiving treatment.
The Big Red Kidney Buses are open to all Australians on hospital, satellite or home haemodialysis.
The buses travel to popular holiday destinations across Victoria and NSW, where they are located for up to six weeks at a time, staffed by experienced dialysis nurses and renal technicians.
It would make a big difference to the lives of Highlanders on dialysis if a service like this could reside in the region while a solution for a renal unit was decided upon.
Many Highlanders take patient transport to and from dialysis appointments at other hospitals in the district.
A trip usually takes between two and three hours, dialysis then takes five hours, before patients get back on a bus to spend another three hours getting home.
It’s a long day for a healthy person, so imagine what it is like for a sick person. It’s tiring, uncomfortable, lonely and, at times, painful. While plans are finalised for our renal unit, perhaps something like the kidney bus could be stationed in the Highlands.
It wouldn’t just improve a patient’s travel time, it would improve their wellbeing and overall quality of life. Meetings between the Southern Highlands Renal Appeal hare continuing to meet with South Western Sydney local Health District to discuss alternatives.
We can only hope that a short-term solution comes quickly for those members of our community who are on dialysis.