Healthy win for the NT
THE Territory’s kidney disease sufferers will be the major beneficiaries of a new Medicare item to be announced by the Turnbull Government today.
Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt will unveil the new plan which will offer new support to Australia’s most dialysis dependent sector – indigenous Territorians.
The Territory’s Indigenous Affairs Minister CLP senator Nigel Scullion hailed the decision as a potential game changer for indigenous Territorians.
“The Turnbull Government is committed to better health outcomes for indigenous Territorians and part of that is tackling life threatening kidney disease,” he said.
“This Medicare decision will go a long way to improving those outcomes.”
Federal Minister Hunt echoed the CLP senator’s sentiments.
“This is a great outcome for indigenous Australians and especially those in remote areas,” Mr Hunt said.
“The new Medicare item will support the delivery of dialysis in very remote areas to improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with kidney disease.
“Significantly it will enable dialysis to be managed by a registered nurse, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner or Aboriginal health worker with appropriate training, on behalf of a medical practitioner.
Menzies School of Health Research and a renal dialysis specialist Professor Alan Cass described the news as an important initiative that has the potential to address a devastating problem among remote communities. Prof Cass said there was no disease which had a more devastating impact on Aboriginal Territorians than kidney disease.
“One in 50 Aborigines are touched by kidney disease — we have more than 800 Aboriginal Territorians currently on dialysis,” he said.
“The significance of this announcement should not be lost on anyone. Living on country is important for remote Aboriginal Territorians and leaving it to receive treatment is daunting. “There are often cases of patients leaving treatment to go back to country rather than continuing in a city treatment facility.”
NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the decision was a win for Territorians suffering end stage renal failure.
“The Territory Labor Government has lobbied strongly for this inclusion on the MBS that will significantly improve health outcomes for many Territorians,” she said.