Patients have been seeking hospital-run dialysis services in Esperance so they don’t have to travel to Perth or operate the renal chairs themselves.
Dialysis services for Esperance Health Campus are still not in place despite $50 million pledged by the Federal Government in April 2014.
The Federal funding was officially announced in an April 1, 2014 press release which pledged 17 chairs in the Federal Division of O’Connor, including two for Esperance.
“These services will help put an end to patients having to make round-trips to Perth for treatment and continually spending days away from home,” Liberal MP for O’Connor Rick Wilson said in 2014.
The WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Goldfields director Geraldine Ennis said the emergency department and maternity ward needed to be renovated first.
“Works were completed in order of most need, with work on the emergency department, theatre and maternity unit completed first,” she said.
“This allowed the area, designated for the dialysis chairs, to be freed up.”
However Mr Wilson, who successfully lobbied for funds for dialysis services for O’Connor over three years ago, said the Goldfields Health Service informed him there was a delay because no companies had applied for tender.
“The Federal Government provided funding for two renal dialysis chairs to service the Esperance community back in 2014,” Mr Wilson said.
“It was recently brought to my attention that these chairs are not yet in use, so I’ve made inquiries with the WA Country Health Service regarding their installation.
“My understanding is that WACHS have put out a tender regarding the development of a dialysis service at the Esperance Health Campus and this process is ongoing.”
Mr Wilson’s office confirmed the country health service attributed the delay to dialysis services to a lack of commercial interest, as recently as January 2018.
Mr Wilson began looking into why the services still had not been delivered after Esperance local Bruce Mihan made inquiries to the member’s office.
Mr Mihan has been seeking dialysis care at Esperance Hospital since he suffered kidney failure in 2004 and had to spend 18 months in Perth, and said he learnt about the unspent funds when he visited Mr Wilson’s Esperance office.
“Rick [Wilson] was just horrified that all this money was just sitting there and not being used,” Mr Mihan said.
“They put out tenders twice before to supply chairs for the hospital for dialysis and no one put a tender in.”
The new emergency department in Esperance was officially opened in December 2015 and the maternity ward was reopened by the then-health minister John Day in December 2016.
Ms Ennis said the funding was out for commercial tender and would close in late February 2018.
“A community supported home dialysis centre has been included in the redevelopment of Esperance Health Campus, for those clients who do not have permanent, appropriate home situations,” she said.
“This includes two renal dialysis chairs which will become operational on completion of the building works in early 2019.”
When asked if applications for tender had been made Ms Ennis did not answer.
Mr Wilson’s office confirmed the money would remain available, even if there was no application for tender in February 2018.