BIG WEIGHT LIFTED: Irene Irwin is relieved she no longer has to travel hundreds of kilometres for renal care with three new dialysis chairs installed at Bowen Hospital earlier this week.
BIG WEIGHT LIFTED: Irene Irwin is relieved she no longer has to travel hundreds of kilometres for renal care with three new dialysis chairs installed at Bowen Hospital earlier this week. Kyle Evans

New renal service warmly welcomed

PATIENTS in need of renal care will no longer have to travel hundreds of kilometres following this week's opening of a satellite service at Bowen Hospital.

Three new dialysis chairs were installed on Monday, along with new dialysis machines and reverse osmosis water treatment.

The renal service installation means patients with chronic kidney disease will no longer need to make the 380km round trip to Mackay for treatment.

Bowen couple Les and Irene Irwin, who have been travelling to Mackay twice a week for the last three years for treatment, said the new services proved a great relief.

"It's been very, very hectic,” Mrs Irwin, who suffers from kidney disease, said.

"It wasn't the dialysis that was the problem it was the travelling. It really got to us. We're old people, my husband is 86, I'm 75, and we got very tired.”

Mr Irwin said the constant travel virtually consumed four days a week as the couple would have to stay overnight each time they made the trip.

He said his eyes would get sore from driving and the travel was exhausting.

"It's going to be a big weight lifted off us,” he said. "Irene will no longer have to sit next to me, listen to me swearing while trying to drive in traffic and all that type of thing.”

Mackay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Jo Whitehead said it was important the health service could respond to the immediate and growing needs of the community.

"Our Bowen and Whitsunday communities had expressed a strong desire for a renal service to be established in the region,” she said.

"Patients located in our northern region can now be assured of a dialysis service and remain living in their communities while undergoing their daily treatment.”

The service will initially start with two Bowen residents and then expanded to include Collinsville residents as well as people from across the wider Whitsundays region.


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