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Toowoomba renal team works to Close the Gap in Cherbourg

27 April 2018

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles and Senior Staff Specialist and Consultant Nephrologist Dr Sree Krishna Venuthurupalli using Telehealth technology to consult with clinicians in Cherbourg.

Toowoomba Hospital’s specialist renal team are taking their services to Cherbourg to treat people with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said having the clinicians travel to Cherbourg to see patients in their community meant they could build better relationships and find a treatment option that would be most effective.  

“The Toowoomba renal team and local clinicians in Cherbourg identified that even though many local adults had CKD, they weren’t able to access the best treatment for it,” Minister Miles said.

“The traditional approach of asking patients to come and see a renal specialist or attend a clinic in Toowoomba wasn’t working for a number of cultural and socio-economic reasons.

“Many people weren’t seeking treatment in the early stages and waited until the disease had severely affected their lives and they needed dialysis. 

“By establishing renal specialist outreach clinics via Telehealth from Cherbourg, and combining the service with CKD nurse practitioner clinics on the ground, patients are now being seen earlier and more regularly.

“In fact, more than 70 per cent of patients are now seen in the earlier stages of their kidney disease, providing better opportunity for the renal team to slow down the disease progression.

“Other improvements have also included increased dialysis capacity and the provision of transport, meaning more patients can be treated locally, without the need to frequently travel to Toowoomba.”

In total, 55 patients have been seen through the program since it was first introduced to Cherbourg in 2011.

Senior Staff Specialist and Consultant Nephrologist Dr Sree Krishna Venuthurupalli said almost one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 18 had indicators of CKD.

“Even though Cherbourg has a relatively small adult population, CKD is a very significant health issue in that community,” Dr Venuthurupalli said.

“The trust built through this program has also had flow-on effects with specialist teams to treat other common conditions like diabetes and heart disease welcomed in the Cherbourg community.

“This provides more opportunities for integrated health care to improve the quality of life for local residents and make significant inroads to Closing the Gap in Cherbourg.”

Last updated: 27 April 2018