FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has welcomed news that the Bamaga Renal Unit will open its doors on the 18th of October.
Mr Entsch met with Simone Kolaric, the chief executive of the Torres Strait-Northern Peninsula Hospital and Health Service, last week during a trip to Thursday Island.
“I told Simone that we needed to get these people home, it has been too long,” Mr Entsch said. “She agreed and it’s absolutely fantastic that it’s now about to actually happen.
“I want to congratulate Dr Mantha and the Renal Unit here in Cairns who have been working incredibly hard on this, along with State Health Minister Lawrence Springborg for his assistance.
“We now have three people trained up to carry out the dialysis process themselves and there are four chairs in the Bamaga Unit. That’s three people who will be able to head home on the 18th.”
Mr Entsch has long advocated for the reopening of renal facilities in the Far North of the electorate, particularly since the Bamaga renal dialysis unit was left unmanned in 2007.
“It should never have been shut down in the first place,” he said.
As a result, people like Neville and Lency Newman, among others, were living in motel units in Cairns for years at a time while receiving dialysis, as there were no facilities close to their home communities.
“It’s been a long time in the making, with a lot of setbacks along the way, but we’re just about there now,” Mr Entsch said. “This is a major step in the right direction.
“Unfortunately the self-dialysis isn’t suitable for Lency but it’s great to see that three patients have grabbed this opportunity and will now be able to return to normal lives in their home communities, close to friends and family.”
Mr Entsch added that the Thursday Island Renal Unit will be “up and running” by Christmas.