Time frame given for dialysis unit

Planning for the satellite renal dialysis unit at Cooma District Hospital is gaining momentum with hopes for completion early next year.

Despite some concerns about delays, a meeting of the dialysis planning committee last Thursday was told the "move in" date for the dialysis unit would be May 2013.

The unit will allow Cooma district patients to receive dialysis locally without having to travel to Canberra for what can be exhausting treatment.

Some $1 million funding has been allocated for the new dialysis unit, which will comprise four dialysis chairs, with the option for an additional four chairs.

Southern NSW Local Health District chief executive Dr Max Alexander said the new unit is on track to be completed by the middle of 2013, which will be followed by a training period before patients can start to use the facility.

"While there may be some concern in the community that work is progressing slowly on this project, it should be noted that the planning process takes time and an enormous amount of work has already been done," Dr Alexander said.

"It should also be remembered that the building has to meet clinical operating standards as well as building standards.

"The planning committee, including community representatives, clinical staff, renal specialists, hospital management, along with Health District Asset Management and Planning staff, have been quite busy overseeing planning and appointing contractors for this project.

"Planning for the project has involved extensive consultation with the Monaro Regional Renal/Dialysis Group, chaired by Dugald Mitchell. This group consists of community representatives from Cooma and surrounding communities, and their input has been quite invaluable."

Sydney-based Morrison Design Partnership has been appointed as architects and contract administrators for the project, with tender documents currently being developed to go out early in the new year.

Local community members have stated they would prefer that building work on the dialysis unit go to local contractors.

The unit will be located in the existing staff dining area at Cooma Hospital, with the staff dining area to be moved to the current self-care dialysis unit.

Those patients undertaking self-care dialysis will be able to continue during planning and construction before transferring to the new unit.

The planning committee's next meeting is on Thursday, December 13.

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