Sleep device needed but out of reach
The machines are expensive — even the hire rates are really high, and when you’re on benefits you just can’t afford that sort of thing.
Brett Herbert’s sleep apnoea machine is old and worn out, but the Utakarra resident says he lives on partial disability benefits and cannot afford a new one.
Mr Herbert, 50, has used the machine for close to five years after his girlfriend noticed he would snore and stop breathing while sleeping.
He has a degenerative spine condition and suffers from fibromyalgia, which causes aches and muscle stiffness.
For Mr Herbert, pain is part of everyday life.
“When I have flare-ups I just can’t move — there’s pain in my muscles, you can get anxiety and depression, and for me there’s also chronic fatigue,” he said.
“You suffer with all these aches and there’s just not a day that’s pain-free.”
Mr Herbert’s health problems have forced him to hang up his hat on his career, which has spanned working for mining companies, cray-fishing and healthcare work.
He is now supported through partial disability payments, which he said would not buy him a new sleep apnoea machine — a device that typically costs around $1000.
Mr Herbert has asked the State to make these machines more accessible to users. “The machines are expensive — even the hire rates are really high and when you’re on benefits, you just can’t afford that sort of thing,” he said.
“I think it’s something the Government has overlooked in the health system.
“Sometimes it seems like they would rather build statues in the middle of nowhere than fund important things.”
The State reportedly subsidises sleep apnoea machines if a sufferer visits a sleep consultant.
A consultant must then submit a form to the West Australian Sleep Disorders Research Institute and a committee will review applications once a month.
Patients must pay a $150 bond and pay for the mask for the machine out of pocket.
Brett Herbert says his sleep apnoea machine needs an upgrade but he cannot afford it.