Dialysis patients given new hope

A NEW state-of-the-art renal unit will be up and running at St Vincent's Private Hospital in Lismore by year's end.

The 10-chair dialysis unit will mean private patients who cannot find space at Lismore Base Hospital will no longer have to travel as far away as John Flynn Hospital on the Gold Coast to receive the life-saving procedure.

“It's a fairly extensive unit and that is based on demand,” St Vincent's chief executive Bob Walsh said.

“That demand will grow more in the future because of our lifestyle and ageing population.”

As well as private patients, the centre will offer its services to veterans and possibly public patients if the local area health service purchases time on the machines.

Lismore Base Hospital only has nine dialysis chairs, with another eight at Ballina Hospital.

The new $1 million unit is being constructed by renal specialists Fresenius Medical Care, which will also operate the centre once the building is completed next month. It will open to patients in early December.

Two of the North Coast's most prominent nephrologists, Dr William James and Dr Venkat Manichavasagam, have been appointed the unit's medical supervisors.

“We are fortunate to offer our patients medical care from a high-quality medical provider with an excellent reputation and international experience in renal dialysis,” Mr Walsh said.

Those with chronic kidney failure require regular dialysis, which cleanses the blood.

A procedure can take five hours and patients often require up to three sessions a week.

Mr Walsh said when patients had to travel 90 minutes each way to receive dialysis, accessing it could be tiring for those who are already ill.

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