Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar.
Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar.

LNP promises access to kidney services in Emerald, Longreach

MEMBER for Gregory Lachlan Millar announced this week the LNP would establish renal dialysis services at Emerald and Longreach hospitals if elected.

He accused the Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles of refusing to recognise the plight of dialysis patients in the Central West and the Central Highlands and asked why he had not made a review into dialysis services public.

“It is scandalous that there is no dialysis access west of the Great Divide,” Mr Millar said.

“Dialysis is not an optional treatment: it is the only way for these patients to stay alive. But you must be able to have the treatment several times a week for the rest of your life.

“Not to put too fine a point on it, Gregory constituents have died because of inadequate treatment due to the travel and hardship they face in accessing treatment.

Mr Millar said Mr Miles had told him in parliament two years ago that he had commissioned a statewide review of dialysis services.

“That review was to have been completed by the end of 2018, but I have heard no more,” Mr Millar said.

He said a day trip several times a week was impossible for someone who had to travel from Emerald to Rockhampton – a six-hour round trip.

“On the basis of population alone, Emerald should have taken precedence when the Minister was allocating dialysis services,” Mr Millar said, comparing Emerald to the Bowen Hospital dialysis service established in 2019.

“For Longreach patients, the situation is even worse: travel one-way is over seven hours.

“No more delays, no more unnecessary suffering, no more unnecessary losses of life.”

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles. Photo: Jono Searle/Getty Images
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles. Photo: Jono Searle/Getty Images

Mr Miles replied that he knew it was tough for families to have to travel for treatment and said he had asked Queensland Health to look into setting up more services in regional Queensland.

But, he, said, “what the LNP have failed to explain is how they intend to deliver dialysis services in Emerald and Longreach”.

“Establishing a new renal dialysis service is a costly and complex task, that involves hiring additional staff,” he said.

“The LNP needs to outline what services they will cut in Emerald and Longreach to staff a new service as we know from history that an LNP government does not hire staff, but cut, sack and sell.”

Mr Miles did not specify Queensland Health’s conclusions about medical access in the Gregory electorate, nor whether the report mentioned by Mr Millar would be made public.