After two years of planning and construction, the four-chair renal unit at the Nyngan Multipurpose Service (MPS) centre has officially been opened.
Members of the community, Chief Executive of Western NSW Local Health District Scott McLachlan, Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries, Bogan Shire Mayor Ray Donald and patient Sharon Dunn were present Tuesday at the official opening of the new satellite renal service, being described as the “cutting edge” of rural health care.
The unit, which cost about $1.5 million to build and will cost approximately $250,000 a year to operate, increases the number of renal dialysis chairs from one to four.
Mr McLachlan said this satellite service is a leading initiative for the local health district bringing new technology and services closer to rural communities in a minutes notice.
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“For us there’s an absolute commitment to bring services closer to home for people in the bush … part of that commitment is to try and find ways we can skill up our staff, bring new technology and different ways of working to change lives,” Mr McLachlan said.
“Nyngan really is a first for us in being able to, I guess push some boundaries and provide care in a way that hasn’t been possible before without technology, the right skills and the staff,” he said.
“We've got an amazing group of staff in Dubbo who understand how difficult [travelling] is for people. So the commitment they bring is through our video conference high definition technology, which allows staff to be over the shoulder of all of our clinicians here in Nyngan at a minutes notice whenever they need them,” he said.
The expansion was announced in 2016 after staff and patients, who lived in Nyngan and further west, highlighted the difficulty faced when needing to receive dialysis treatment.
“This unit really came about because of Sharon's story and knowing how difficult it was for her to keep working while she had to travel to Dubbo three times a week,” Mr McLachlan said.
“It’s four hours turn around, five hours on a dialysis machine and then looking after young kids and a bigger family, it shouldn't be that tough,” Mr Mclachlan said.
The build has taken just under two years with meticulous planning to ensure the safety and comfort of patients.
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“I know that getting the water quality right and making sure staff were prepared for this service has taken a lot of effort,” Mr Humphries said.
“We’re grateful to the Western NSW Local Health District and the local health service which have worked hard to get the service up and running,” he said.
Mr Humphries went on to say the opening of the MPS was one of the first examples of combining a range of services in one place, and that the opening of the renal unit was an example of services in rural communities continuing to grow.
“Smaller hospitals like Nyngan have a really important role to play, and the development of services such as this satellite renal unit demonstrates that,” Mr Humphries said.
Mayor Ray Donald said the necessary service is fantastic for not only the residents of the Bogan Shire but those in surrounding communities, who might not be able to make it to larger regional centres.
“As Scott McLaughlin said it can be a template for the future for others to be developed, because it’s an area of medical services that are certainly going to be necessary well into the future,” Mr Donald said.
“I'm just so glad that some of the people using it now don't have to travel to Dubbo anymore for the service,” he said.