Media Release

The Impact of Kidney Disease and What Government Should Do About It! World Kidney Day 11 March 2010


Kidney Health Australia

The National Consumer Council of Kidney Health Australia will release its special report titled 'The Impact of Kidney Disease and what Government should be doing about it. ' Click here to Download Full Report.
'The Impact of Kidney Disease and what Government should be doing about it'

The release of the report highlights one of the failings of the national health system that is going to balloon into an even bigger problem because of the ageing of Australia's population. It is hoped that the Federal Government initiative to reform Australia's health system - announced on 3 March 2010 - will help to address this problem.

David Parker, Chairman of the National Consumer Council said the report will provide a unique insight for Members of Parliament into the patient's view of how patients, families and carers are treated by the current system and the areas needing urgent reform.

Anne Wilson CEO and Managing Director of Kidney Health Australia said the report by the National Consumer Council highlighted many issues which needed to be addressed and Kidney Health Australia strongly supported the call for reform.

Seven immediate interventions urgently needed across all states and territories include:

1. Adequate dialysis capacity that enables patients to:
  • Access and choose from a full range of treatment options in their own region.
  • Access respite and holiday dialysis in other regions and interstate to facilitate contact with family and friends.

2. A patient transport and accommodation scheme to ensure patients who need to recurrently travel to receive dialysis treatment are adequately reimbursed.

3. A scheme which meets out-of-pocket expenses incurred by patients choosing to undertake dialysis treatments in their own homes.

4. A reimbursement scheme for people donating a kidney to a loved one. This scheme should reimburse all reasonable and verifiable expenses incurred by the donor, including loss of income and out-of-pocket expenses, and preserve leave entitlements.

The National Consumer Council calls on Government to reduce the future burden of kidney disease in the community and on individuals by:

1. Recognising chronic kidney disease as a major chronic disease of the 21st century and one that multiplies the morbidity and cost of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

2. Developing a national program to increase awareness and early detection of chronic kidney disease through increased professional education and the introduction of specific programs in primary care aimed at monitoring, improved management and better outcomes in early chronic kidney disease.

3. Funding and resourcing the development and delivery of high quality information and education services in chronic kidney disease, patient support programs and the training in and promotion of these services in the community.

Dr Tim Mathew, Medical Director of Kidney Health Australia said chronic kidney disease is a difficult disease to promote to the community as it is basically invisible and does not cause pain. A person can lose up to 90% of their kidney function before experiencing any symptoms.

Hence it is known as the SILENT KILLER and in many cases has been treated as a silent issue in the political arena when compared with other chronic diseases.

The special report points out to Members of Parliament over 1 million hospital bed days or 4% of all bed days in 2006-07, were occupied by people with a principal diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease and this demand is expected to double within a decade unless a new approach is taken.

Anyone who is suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease and needs help should call the Kidney Health Australia Help Line on 1800 4 543 639.

David Parker
The National Consumer Council of Kidney Health Australia Special Report and video comment from its Chairman David Parker from the official International World Kidney Day website.

David Parker started on dialysis in 2005 and received a transplant in 2008. David is involved with seven different boards and advisory committees nationally and in the ACT working on organ donation, renal service delivery and public health and consumer advocacy. His interview covers dialysis from a patient's perspective and the need for Government to act in relation to the ageing population.

Media Enquiries: for further comment
Anne Wilson CEO & Managing Director Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0400 165 391
Dr Tim Mathew, Medical Director, Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0416 149 863
Ron Smith National Media Communications Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0417 329 201 to organize an interview with David Parker.