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Ryall: ‘Give a kidney, change a life!’ resource launch

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

25 March 2014 Speech Notes
‘Give a kidney, change a life!’ resource launch

Good afternoon and thank you the opportunity to speak at this event today.

Thanks to Dr Tutone, and Nora, for your speeches earlier, and a special thanks to Kim for sharing your remarkable story about your own journey as a kidney donor.

There are also a few other acknowledgements I’d like to make before I begin;

• Dr Mark Marshall - from Counties Manuaku Health, Project Sponsor – who I understand couldn’t make it today;

The Give a Kidney, Change a Life! project team;

• And all those at the Mangere Town Centre

It’s a pleasure to be here today to launch this fantastic resource and acknowledge the work being undertaken by Counties Manukau Health and the Kidney Society Auckland to support those patients with end-stage renal disease, those on dialysis, kidney donors and recipients.

Good health is hugely important to New Zealanders. A strong public health service gives families peace of mind, knowing that the care they need will be there, when they need it. And that’s the priority of our Government too.

The Government’s health plan has four major objectives: helping families stay healthy; better performance; best use of every dollar; and a strong, trusted workforce.

In New Zealand, there are over 2500 people on dialysis, many as a complication of having diabetes, and that number grows by the day. We expect a further 125 people to start dialysis this year.

Those people depend on dialysis to stay alive. Since July 2010, 10 dialysis units have either opened or undergone extensive redevelopment around the country. I opened the newest one last week at Keneperu Hospital in Wellington.

I was very impressed with this facility. With $5m, Capital and Coast DHB have not only finished a project on time, but have greatly increased the capacity for this service in the Greater Wellington area.

I had the opportunity to talk to one of the patients who will use the facility, his name was Bill Rees.

I asked Bill what kind of difference dialysis had made to him. He told me that, quite simply, dialysis had made his life.

Without dialysis, Bill would only have a very short time to live, and so it’s fantastic that he has this wonderful new facility where he can get the treatment he needs, in the best environment possible.

Of course, we know that the best treatment for people with end stage renal disease is a kidney transplant. It allows people to live the life they want, free of dialysis.

We also know the shortage of kidneys for transplantation is a serious problem in New Zealand.

Last year there were 106 kidney transplant operations and over 1500 people are living with functioning transplants. That still leaves over 600 people waiting for a kidney transplant right now.

More work needs to be done to identify and work with potential live donors. Without donors the shortage of kidneys for transplant will not change.

The priority for our renal health team is to find, encourage and support those people who so generously offer their own kidney to help a son or daughter, sister or brother, husband or wife, other whanau or family, or even a friend.

Senior clinicians have endorsed Budget 2012, and the Government’s commitment of $4 million dollars to improve live and deceased organ donation.

The renal transplant service at Auckland DHB received funding to formally establish the New Zealand Kidney Exchange Scheme, supporting an increase in the number of paired kidney transplants.

New funding has also been provided to increase the number of deceased organs, for example through employing additional staff to increase the medical advice and support in intensive care units.
These resources, Give a Kidney, Change a Life!, are the first products of the Live Kidney Donation Aotearoa project, the third service funded from Budget 2012.

The project has three arms:
• educational resources
• a home based education guide and support for families who could be potential donors
• a DHB staff education programme and a fact warehouse.

The resources are tools for both community engagement and home based education programmes.

What you see before you is just the start. These resources provide information for people that will help them understand what it means to donate a kidney (both for the recipient and themselves as the donor).

The resources will help those giving and receiving kidneys to safely navigate the journey. They will give these people a better understanding about what will happen as they meet the doctors and nurses working towards the transplant operation.

They will also provide information on support channels such as Work and Income New Zealand.

The educational resources have been created not just by doctors and nurses, but by the patients, donors and recipients themselves, with input from across the country. This is a good example of an integrated approach in action.

Furthermore, the resources themselves are not just available for those in Auckland, they have been developed by the combined teams of Counties Manukau Health and the Kidney Society Auckland for the whole country.

The Government is also focussed on trying to prevent end-stage kidney disease. We know the most common cause - half of all kidney disease - is diabetes. If we can identify diabetes early we can prevent the kidney disease it causes.

We also want people to have the best chance to avoid dialysis so we’ve made diabetes detection and treatment part of our drive to achieve better health outcomes.

This is a big goal that can only be achieved by the Government, health professionals and communities working together in new and different ways to improve the outcomes for our people.

The More heart and diabetes checks health target encourages all eligible people to have a heart and diabetes check. By doing this we will find those people with diabetes who do not know they have it, before they develop problems like kidney disease.

The More heart and diabetes checks health target is well established and we have made good progress. Last year saw an 18 percent increase nationally in the number of people who had received a cardiovascular risk assessment and diabetes check.

We are now at 73.3 percent, but this is still some distance from the national goal where 90 percent of the eligible population will have had their cardiovascular risk assessed in the last five years by June 2014.

Government in Budget 2013, committed $35.5 million for a package of initiatives focussing primarily on the prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and included $12.4 million for local diabetes care enhancement, and a further $7.2 million for more green prescriptions.

These new education resources, Give a Kidney, Change a Life! - will help all renal departments to increase the number of live donor kidney transplants.
I hope that all renal departments will use these resources as part of improving the live kidney donation service they offer to patients.

Our goal is that more people with end stage renal disease can live normal lives.

I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work in getting these resources together; and thank you all once again for inviting me to be part of your event.

© Scoop Media

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