Media Release

Relief for ACT Home Dialysis Patients


Kidney Health Australia

Kidney Health Australia today welcomed the ACT Government's announcement that it will help defray the additional electricity and excess water costs of home dialysis patients.


Kidney Health Australia's ACT Consumer Committee was notified by Katy Gallagher MLA, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Health, last week of the government's decision that will both assist existing patients and promote additional home dialysis.


Bill Handke, a spokesperson for Kidney Health Australia's ACT consumer group, said "Dialysis treatment at home is a life changer: it allows additional hours of dialysis which provides better health outcomes.  Furthermore, it relieves chronically ill patients from having to attend dialysis centres three times a week, for up to 5 hours at a time".


Experience in Australia and overseas indicates that longer dialysis hours improves health, with patients living longer with a better quality of life.  Accordingly, home dialysis is an important option for dialysis patients, but the extra cost of increased water and electricity use - in the order of $1200-$1500 or so a year - is a significant financial barrier for many people.


"We thank Katy Gallagher for again showing she is responsive to patient and carer needs.  Her commitment to home dialysis patients is welcomed by patients and their families.  It will help remove a high financial barrier and make it possible for more people to dialyse at home."


Currently in the ACT there are 221 people on dialysis of whom 59 patients are dialysing at home. 


Dr Tim Mathew, Medical Director of Kidney Health Australia said, "Every patient undertaking dialysis at home saves the Health Budget around $40,000 a year.  Across Australia, hospital-based haemodialysis costs governments $82,764 per patient per year while home haemodialysis only costs $44,739 per person".


"While home dialysis saves the government money, the patient has been forced to bear the considerable costs of increased electricity and water use and other consumables.  The ACT Government's decision will remove a large part of the financial burden imposed on home dialysis patients".


Dr Mathew said, "Chronic kidney disease is the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia, and in the ACT the number of people starting dialysis in the last few years has been growing by 9% a year.  Home dialysis relieves governments of the cost of building and staffing additional dialysis capacity.   With Australia's hospital systems already struggling to cope with the increased demand for hospital-based or centre-based dialysis, it makes economic sense for more patients with kidney disease to do home dialysis".


"Even more importantly for the patients, both quality of life and survival is improved by longer dialysis hours which patients can only do at home."


Media Enquiries:

Ron Smith, National Communications Manager, Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0417 329 201