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Waikato Regional Renal Centre official opening

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

30 November 2012

Waikato Regional Renal Centre official opening

Living with kidney failure is challenging for patients and their families – so it’s a pleasure to be here today to officially open this new $7.6 million regional renal centre which will provide better renal services for the Midland region.

I would like to acknowledge all the staff who have been involved in the planning and development of this new centre. Clinical input is important to ensure facilities are user friendly for both patients and staff and I would like to thank you.

Planning for the future

Kidney failure is a growing problem in New Zealand with over 2,300 people now using dialysis. Around 80 new patients in the Midland region are expected to start dialysis in the next year.

The demand for dialysis services in New Zealand is predicted to grow at 5 per cent each year over the next 10 years.

Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Tairawhiti DHBs are aware demand will increase and are working together to address the future needs of their communities.

This new regional renal centre is the hub of renal services across the Midland region – providing specialist clinical services, staff training and will support the four satellite dialysis centres and the dialysis training programmes.

It is a great example of how regional planning improves frontline services and makes a real difference to patients and their families.

Better renal services for the Midland region

This new centre will ensure the 480 dialysis patients, 200 transplant recipients and donors and the 250 people with advanced chronic kidney disease continue to have access to good quality care, even as demand increases.

With more space, more equipment, and more services, this fit for purpose centre will provide renal patients with better services now and in the future.

The number of dialysis treatment chairs has doubled from 12 to 24, with the capacity to increase to 30 chairs in the future.

A new hoist system has been installed so patients, such as double amputees, can now be treated at the centre.

And for the first time doctors, nurses and allied health staff will all be located in the one building.

Services closer to home

This government is committed to ensuring more people get services closer to home.

Of the 2,300 people in New Zealand using dialysis to treat renal disease - more than half manage their own dialysis at home or in the community.

Since 2010, seven community dialysis facilities have opened around the country – North Shore, Kaitaia, Mangere, Gisborne, Whakatane, Wairoa, and Greenlane.

There are plans for two more dialysis units in Auckland and one in Wanganui.

One of the services offered at this centre is a home dialysis training programme. The training centre is one of the largest in New Zealand and gives patients the confidence and support to treat themselves at home or in the community.

Self-treatment means people can have a more independent life by fitting in the long treatments – up to six hours three times a week - into their routine, rather than having to attend set appointment times. It also frees up space in specialist units, like this, for people unable to manage at home or in the community.

It’s great that people are being encouraged and supported to receive their renal dialysis at home – this is what better sooner more convenient health care is all about.

For some people, however, their homes are not suitable for a dialysis machine and equipment.

In this region there are four satellite community dialysis units - Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatane and Gisborne.

These satellite units, supported by the regional centre, enable these people to also receive treatment in their community.

Focus on increasing the number of kidney transplants

Better dialysis services are part of the range of services to meet the needs of people with kidney failure - from better management of early kidney disease in the community to an increased number of kidney transplant operations.

Last year 186 people received transplants in New Zealand, but many people are still waiting for organs to be donated - over 600 people for kidney replacements alone.

The government has allocated $4 million over the next four years to increase the number of organ donors for transplant operations.

We are investing $2 million to increase training and support for intensive care health professionals to identify potential donors and give greater support to their families.

$1.75m to increase live organ donation, by employing dedicated staff who can support and guide potential donors while they make the decision to become donors.

And $250,000 to explore the option of establishing a national donor exchange scheme, where we can mix and match several incompatible donor and recipient pairs together so each recipient gets a compatible donor

We hope to give many more people who need a transplant the chance of renewed lives.


Better dialysis services, like this new regional renal centre, are part of the range of services to meet the needs of people with kidney failure.

I’m aware that there are a number of other initiatives underway or in the planning stage to make further improvements to renal services in the region including a telemedicine system for distant patients so the clinicians can see the patient rather than just talking to them over the phone.

This centre and the other regional renal initiatives planned will make a real difference for patients in the Midland region and I would like to thank you again for your commitment to quality renal services for the people of the district.


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