‘Sick of travelling’: Mandurah man wants treatment in Peel

Concerned: Tom and Rae Lothian are concerned with the resources at Peel Health Campus. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.
Concerned: Tom and Rae Lothian are concerned with the resources at Peel Health Campus. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

An 85-year-old Mandurah man with kidney disease is travelling three-times a week to Perth for dialysis, because he remains on a waiting list for treatment at Peel Health Campus.

Tom Lothian has been on the health campus’s dialysis waiting list since February. 

He said travelling to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for dialysis had affected his quality of life.

“I spend 27 hours a week travelling to Perth, getting my treatment, then having to go back home again,” he said. “I’d prefer to be living a normal life, than be running around doing all this travelling.”

All together Tom spends 27 hours a week travelling to Perth, in treatment and returning home. Photo: Google Maps.

All together Tom spends 27 hours a week travelling to Perth, in treatment and returning home. Photo: Google Maps.

Tom’s wife, Rae Lothian, said her husband would arrive home as late as 10pm some nights and would not have eaten since lunchtime, which disrupted his medication. 

Rae said the health campus was not adequately resourced, but she could not complain about the care they had received from staff.  

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Rae said the health campus was not adequately resourced, but she could not complain about the care they had received from staff. 

In a joint response from both Ramsay Health Care and South Metropolitan Health Service, a spokeswoman said Mr Lothian had been placed on the waiting lists at the Rockingham satellite clinic and Peel Health Campus.

“We understand Mr Lothian’s wish to receive care closer to his home, however, it is difficult to say when a dialysis clinic placement for Mr Lothian will become available in Rockingham or at Peel Health Campus as it depends on a range of clinical factors,” the spokeswoman said. 

She would not reveal how many people were on the dialysis waiting list.

Concerned: Tom and Rae Lothian and Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

Concerned: Tom and Rae Lothian and Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

“We will not be providing the waitlist number as this does not indicate a time frame as to when Mr Lothian may be able to access services at Peel Health Campus or Rockingham,” the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said there were nine dialysis sessions per week at the health campus. 

She said both Fiona Stanley Hospital, and the Cannington and Spearwood satellite clinics provided 12 sessions each per week. 

“Please note – nine sessions is not nine patients seen,” the spokeswoman said. 

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup said “it was not good enough” for a population of 95,000 people to be reliant on Perth hospitals for dialysis treatment.

“We have another situation where clearly, the hospital hasn’t got the money to cope with the population and demands,” he said. 

There’s a certain type of support that we’re missing out on here

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup

Mr Kirkup said he believed there were other people in a similar position to Tom.

“He’s on a wait list and has started on one end, and come through…there must be a number of other people in the same boat, being farmed out to Perth hospitals for dialysis,” he said. 

Mr Kirkup said the campus did not have the facilities it required to cater for an ageing population. It needed a resident cardiologist and a fracture clinic.

“There’s a certain type of support that we’re missing out on here,” he said. 

“Elderly people are prone to falls, and there’s a large number of people in the community who have pace makers.”

For eight and a half years while his party was in power they failed miserably to keep track of the rapidly growing population in the Peel region

Minister for Health Roger Cook

Mr Kirkup said the hospital was not being properly funded by the State Government.

​“We are in Mandurah with an older population that needs a certain amount of care, and I think the government should be providing that,” he said. “It should be fit for purpose.”

Minister for Health Roger Cook said he had recently written to Mr Lothian regarding his concerns.

“I appreciate this is a difficult situation and explained a transfer will be arranged as soon as a vacancy becomes available at either Peel Health Campus or Rockingham...,” he said. 

“It is difficult to say when a placement will become available as it depends on a range of clinical factors, but in the meantime I advised Mr Lothian to liaise with his dialysis team at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital to try and secure an appointment at a more suitable time of day.”

Mr Cook hit back at Mr Kirkup’s funding claims and said the last major investment in the hospital was $3 million dollars made by the Labor Government in 2008.

“For eight and a half years while his party was in power they failed miserably to keep track of the rapidly growing population in the Peel region,” he said.

“They spent no money on Peel Health Campus at a time when the state was booming and they threw money around like confetti.”  

Mr Cook said the March interim report of the Sustainable Health Review had identified Peel as an area of concern.

“The McGowan Government will use the review to inform future decisions about the way health is managed in the region to ensure that local people receive quality healthcare that can be sustained for future generations,” he said.