Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar is furious that the State Labor Government continues to snub dialysis patients in the Central West and Central Highlands.
Mr Millar’s frustration comes off the back of an announcement of renal care equipment for Bowen Hospital last week.
“While it’s good to see the State Labor investing in rural health services in Bowen – I continue to wonder whether the Minister has forgotten that central towns like Longreach and Emerald exist!” Mr Millar said.
‘Not only is Emerald larger than Bowen, it services an area nearly the size of Tasmania while Longreach is the hub for all of central Western Queensland.
“The Central Highlands and Central West residents have been begging for local dialysis services for years, but yet have been ignored time and time again.
“While the Queensland Health Minister continues to ignore the reality on the ground, we will continue to suffer huge deficits in health outcomes for rural patients and higher mortality rates.
“The Minister should recognise that Central Queensland residents either have to move from their communities to receive this life-saving service – or go without,” he said.
Mr Millar said he wanted to make it absolutely clear to the Health Minister that the residents of all of Central Queensland west of the coast only have two choices with dialysis.
“They leave their friends and family, move to Rockhampton and receive treatment, or they go without a life-saving treatment that is readily available to their fellow Queenslanders. It’s a horrendous position to put anybody in,” said Mr Millar.
“Even Central Highlands patients able to go to Rockhampton for their treatment cannot easily do it as a day trip. They spend hours travelling on and waiting for buses to receive this treatment.
“It inconceivable that a Government would expect Queenslanders to travel hundreds of kilometres, three times a week, every week of the year, for dialysis care and not provide these services locally,” he said.
“I’ve had numerous constituents contact me in tears, explaining to me that their choice was to continue to travel back and forth to Rockhampton or Townsville, or move away from their families and local communities.
“And while it’s great for the communities of Bowen and the Whitsundays that they have these services locally – the Central Highlands has just as worthy a case.
By comparison, Bowen is a town of 10,000 located 200km south of Townsville. Emerald is the health service hub for the Central Highlands region, 300km from Rockhampton and has a population of 13,500 for Emerald and 28,000 for the region.
“The Health Minister should spend less time worrying about the names of Brisbane hospitals, and start delivering on services for all Queenslanders. Renal dialysis patients throughout the Central Highlands and Central West have had enough!” Mr Millar said.