Media Release

Call for National Water and Electricity Tariff for Home Dialysis Patients


Kidney Health Australia

Australasian Home Haemodialysis Workshop Brisbane 11-12 February 2010

Australians with failed kidneys, who have chosen to undertake home dialysis and save the government up to $37,000 every year, should be protected against the skyrocketing costs of electricity and water by a national program which covers the cost of running life preserving home dialysis equipment.



The issue will be part of the discussion at the the third Australasian Home Haemodialysis Workshop commencing in Brisbane on Thursday.

Patients with failed kidneys require dialysis on average three times a week for five hours per treatment.

The suggested plan would replace state based programs that vary greatly in detail and are often based on individual assessments. This fragmented approach results in inequities in the arrangements for home dialysis patients and these are compounded by the rising of cost of water and electricity.

Under the suggested scheme energy and water companies would be required to supply the extra power and water required for dialysis at an agreed tariff with no cost penalties for hot days or peak hour use with the Federal Government being billed directly for the full cost.

Dr Tim Mathew, Medical Director of Kidney Health Australia said, in one case reported to Kidney Health Australia, a New South Wales pensioner couple had their power bill jump from $162 to $442 over a three month period since the husband had undertaken home dialysis leaving the pensioner to find an extra $25.00 a week after a $77 rebate.

Dr Mathew said with the hospital system already struggling to cope with the demand of hospital based dialysis, which costs $82,764 per patient annually, compared to home dialysis costing $44,739 per person, it is clear the economics alone set the scene for home dialysis to grow in Australia.

"If the advantages of no travel for the patient and family and the ready ability to stay on dialysis for longer hours at home (an approach that improves patient survival) are considered then the case for more home dialysis becomes compelling."

Dr Mathew, said dialysis for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the most frequent reason for hospitalization.

"In 2007-08, regular dialysis for CKD was recorded as the principal diagnosis in 989,000 (almost 1 million) separations 12.6% of all hospitalization in that year."

At the end of 2008, 10,062 people in Australia were receiving dialysis treatment.

Home Haemodialysis Patient Numbers in each State/Territory at the end of December 2008:

NSW 467: Qld 191: ACT 23: Vic 204: TAS 8: SA 8: WA 27: NT 20:

For costs and rebates in each State refer to Local Members of Parliament Electorate Offices as they may vary from state to state. Also note water and power costs may vary.

Media Enquiries:
Dr Carmel Hawley, Department of Nephrology, Princess Alexandra Hospital (07) 3240 5080 (Conference)
Dr Tim Mathew Medical Director Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0416 149 863
Ron Smith National Media Communications Kidney Health Australia Mobile: 0417 329 201