Griffith patients have been waiting desperately for a new renal ward, and now their prayers have been temporarily answered.
The temporary Mungarr Ngurang (Kidney Place) facility opened on Friday to the delight of renal patients like Thomas McRae, who is the oldest renal client at Griffith Base Hospital.
At the opening ceremony the 91-year-old said the new renal ward was a life-saver for people like him.
“I just want to thank everyone on behalf of all the renal patients,” Mr McRae said.
Mr McRae’s voice cracked with emotion when he gave thanks to the late Anna Pokai, who had once cared for him as a renal nurse and a friend.
“I’d just like to say, bless your dear soul, Anna. We’ll remember you,” he said.
The hard-working renal nurses at Griffith Base Hospital have been struggling with soaring levels of demand, but Murrumbidgee Local Health District CEO Jill Ludford said the new ward would help.
“GBH’s temporary renal dialysis unit will see the new service expand from seven to 10 chairs as well as two additional home training chairs,” Ms Ludford said.
“Until redevelopment is complete, it will extend the number of chairs as well as provide new hemodialysis training, so patients can stay in Griffith to learn how to self-dialyse.”
Member for Murray Austin Evans said the new facility was made possible by the support of the community.
“One of the joys of this building is there’s been a huge amount of consultation to get it to this point among the community members,” Mr Evans said.
“I am very impressed with these new expanded facilities, which will provide increased serviceability and comfort for patients and medical staff.”
The temporary unit is part of the stage one works on the $35 million Griffith Base Hospital redevelopment plan.
But Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party candidate Helen Dalton said the government had made many promises which had not yet eventuated.
“I’m happy to have the interim unit as long as we get our promised $300 million in a timely fashion,” she said.
Ms Dalton said she would remain skeptical in the meantime.