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Date posted: 24 February 2014
The Western Desert dialysis project looks after Indigenous people in the Northern Territory, with dialysis centres and a mobile truck. Now the global consultancy Ernst and Young has done a study showing the project's work is cost effective, gets more patients treated, more safely and with better clinical results. The project is saving lives and it's economical.
Sarah Brown is the manager of the Western Desert dialysis project. She discusses the difficulties facing dialysis patients in remote areas in an interview with Mark Colvin from the PM program and what effect and benefits having dialysis machines in remote communities is having for Indigenous patients.
'Look, there's an enormous effect. I was in Kintore yesterday, and we've got people there who are there all the time. When they were in Alice Springs they were struggling to find safe accommodation, they were worrying about their family. These people were in and out of hospital all the time, and really struggling to survive. What I saw yesterday were people being looked after by their family, painting for their community art centre, working in the community, contributing significantly to the community, and passing on their cultural knowledge to their grand kids. It's really hard to put a dollar value on that, but there is also all those cost savings to government as well.' she said.
Ms Brown would like to sit down with local and federal governments, to look at the future planning of dialysis services for remote bush communities. She states 'If dialysis out bush is not the same cost as dialysis in hospitals, let's plan for more dialysis out bush. A couple of years ago the Commonwealth Government commissioned the Central Australian Renal Study, which came out and there were some dollars promised for infrastructure. That money's still sitting there, $10 million, which could be used to significantly expand dialysis out bush.'
Source: ABC PM News