‘A lifeline’: Irene Pnevmatikos MP calls for more dialysis services in SA after kidney cancer battle

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The Honourable Irene Pnevmatikos MLC called for more accessible dialysis services in South Australia during a speech to Parliament on Wednesday.

Ms Pnevmatikos was diagnosed with kidney cancer earlier this year and has since been treating her kidney dysfunction with dialysis three times a week.

In her speech, the Greek Australian politician stressed that prior to starting her treatment she was unaware of the prevalence of dialysis treatment for thousands of people around Australia.

“I am one of approximately 1,000 people who undertake long term dialysis either at home or more predominantly, in a facility to manage kidney function in this state,” Ms Pnevmatikos told SA Parliament.

“The number of people with kidney dysfunction and failure who receive dialysis have been doubling between 2000 and 2020. From 6,400 to 14,600 and this number continues to rise.

“We don’t have enough chairs and beds for dialysis even though dialysis was the leading cause of same-day hospitalisation in Australia in 2019 and 2020.”

Ms Pnevmatikos is calling for more dialysis services in SA.

Ms Pnevmatikos said that dialysis is “a lifeline” for many of these people with kidney dysfunction and failure as it allows them to return to work and “to a semblance of normal life.”

She said “prevention” should be the ultimate goal “to ensure the number of people receiving dialysis lessens over time,” but also called on the SA government to increase dialysis services in the state.

“Whilst I recognise that more dialysis facilities are only a temporary solution, even with the best prevention care unfortunately many people will require dialysis,” Ms Pnevmatikos said.

“It is a matter of capacity and choice. We have an immediate need to increase dialysis capacity to ensure patients who require dialysis can do so.”

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