SA Health gives green light for community dialysis

For more than 15 years, APY Lands communities and support organisations have been campaigning to have access to community-based renal dialysis on the APY Lands.

A remote dialysis treatment. (Photo courtesy: Natalie Whiting, ABC News)

A remote dialysis treatment.
(Photo: Natalie Whiting, ABC News)

For over a year, SA Health has stalled on providing a public response regarding the pledge of $1.7 million capital funding from the Federal Government and the business case provided to SA Health by Western Desert Dialysis about how they would provide dialysis services in Ernabella.

Having resisted the proposed community-based dialysis model for many years, on 26 July 2016 the Minister for Health, the Hon Jack Snelling MP, announced in Parliament that SA Health is now supportive of the establishment of a permanent renal dialysis facility in Ernabella/Pukatja. He indicated that SA Health will enter into a memorandum of understanding with Western Desert Dialysis and the Nganampa Health Council:

After assessing the feasibility of the proposal, I am pleased to inform the house that SA Health is now in a position to enter into a formal contract with Purple House for the delivery of dialysis services to Pukatja. There will also be an MOU with SA Health, Purple House and Nganampa Health Council to clearly identify the roles of each agency. Nganampa Health Council is the provider of health services in Pukatja, and we respect this role and look forward to working with Nganampa and Purple House on this important development.

For a full copy of the Minister’s announcement, you can read the Hansard transcript.

There has been considerable radio and print media coverage on this development. Click here for an ABC news article on 27 July 2016; and here for an article from the National Indigenous Radio Service. You can also listen to an audio news clip on Health Professional Radio – the segment on dialysis starts 2:40 minutes into the recording.

For additional background information, click here for an ABC news article on 2 May 2016; click here for a Paper Tracker radio interview with Western Desert Dialysis; and here for information about the history of the campaign for community-based dialysis; and here for information about the allocation of funding from the Federal Government for Western Desert Dialysis to establish a permanent dialysis facility in Ernabella/Pukatja .



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