Government backflip is good news for transplant candidates
EIGHTEEN Northern NSW kidney transplant candidates will be treated in Brisbane if a suitable organ is found, after the Queensland Government backflipped on a decision to decline NSW transplant candidates.
Lismore MP Janelle Saffin confirmed the news, after getting confirmation from Queensland Deputy Premier Steve Miles.
"Nothing has changed, (the Queensland) Medicines Compliance and Human Tissue Unit have responded, 'A transplant patient from Northern NSW is able to access to transplant services in Brisbane'," Ms Saffin said, after communication was received from Mr Miles.
Earlier this week Kyogle area resident Scott Harlum said Northern NSW medical staff had advised him a possible transplant may have to happen in Sydney after changes by Queensland Health.
Lismore nephrologist Dr William James confirmed there were currently 12 people in Lismore and six in the Tweed waiting for a kidney transplant.
The specialist said transplant cases from Tweed to Grafton were normally attended in Brisbane, and cases from Coffs Harbour and south go to Sydney.
He confirmed there were numerous calls earlier this week from Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane to indicate that option was not available anymore due to COVID border restrictions.
"That has now changed, but it also means that a NSW patient sent to Brisbane for a transplant would be treated as a COVID positive case - although it may not be - in full PPE and instead of being cared for in a renal ward, they may be on an infectious ward," he said.
"The option is for them to go to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, that also has a fantastic team, but it means a much longer distance from home.
"In either location, patients will be cared for very well by our medical professionals.
"Our NSW Health team in Sydney has been very diligent in accommodating resources."
A spokeswoman for the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) confirmed the decision.
"Transplantation will be undertaken in either Queensland or NSW depending on logistics, as such, no patients will be disadvantaged nor denied access to transplantation," she said.
"Since border closure, an agreement has been brokered with a Sydney Unit to perform kidney transplants when offered and accepted.
"Patients are being individually notified and assessed on a case-by-case basis."