Gregory MP Lachlan Millar has welcomed this week's announcement from the ALP of $27.8 million for 33 renal dialysis treatment spaces in regional Queensland but has asked why the government has ignored Emerald in its plan.
The ALP election commitment is for 33 additional renal dialysis treatment spaces at Proserpine, Clermont, Charters Towers, Ingham and Longreach hospitals, and at the Cooktown Multipurpose Health Service and Kowanyama Primary Health Care Centre.
Mr Millar has been campaigning strenuously for renal dialysis services at both Longreach and Emerald Hospitals for at least three years, and announced this week that if the LNP formed government after the state election on October 31, it would establish services at both regional centres.
The subsequent promise from Health Minister Steven Miles means that a service will be established in Longreach no matter which party forms government.
"I welcome the ALP following my commitment to the needs of regional kidney dialysis patients in Gregory but I'm disappointed they've ignored Emerald, which has a larger population than many places that already have dialysis services," Mr Millar said.
"Emerald has a population of 15,000 and serves many surrounding towns such as Springsure, Capella, Blackwater and Tieri.
"For the ALP to ignore that is ridiculous."
Labor candidate for Burdekin Mike Brunker said the $27.8 million injection included funding for two treatment spaces for Clermont Hospital.
"This will be welcome news to patients requiring dialysis in the west," he said. "Often there are barriers to home dialysis due to water supply, so two treatment spaces in the hospital will go a long way to giving people their lives back."
Health Minister Miles said he knew it was tough on people who had to travel to receive dialysis, and their families.
"This is about providing better care closer to home for Queenslanders, no matter where they live.
"(Whitsunday ALP candidate) Angie Kelly has told me about patients in the Whitsundays who have to travel to and from Mackay for regular treatment.
"Labor will establish a satellite unit with four renal dialysis treatment spaces at Proserpine Hospital, so more locals can get care locally."
KAP takes credit
KAP's Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has taken credit for the inclusion of Ingham on the centres to receive dialysis services following several meetings between himself and Mr Miles to advocate for funding for a renal unit, CT scanner and emergency department upgrades.
KAP leader Robbie Katter has called on the LNP to match the ALP's announcement for dialysis services in the north, and said it was was also flawed in that it did not include Mareeba, where there are no dialysis services, or Mount Isa where additional chairs were needed.
"Electioneering needs to be put aside on this issue, and what we need now is a matched promise by the LNP - some things are above politics, and this is certainly one of them," the Traeger MP said.
He said the ALP announcement was long overdue.
Dale Last queries lack of doctors
Meanwhile, Burdekin MP Dale Last threw cold water on the services in themselves being the answer, saying they needed adequate staff to be useful.
Citing the cases of both Bowen and Home Hill as evidence, the LNP's Mr Last said he had "zero confidence" that Labor would actually deliver.
"If Minister Miles wants to actually learn how tough dialysis is for people who need to travel all he needs to do is visit Bowen or Home Hill," Mr Last said.
"Both of those towns have the facilities to offer dialysis but, just like we have seen throughout the health system under Labor, we don't have the necessary staff."
And offering a dialysis service in Clermont, where there's one doctor and where residents can travel to Moranbah or Emerald for a doctor's appointment, was described as an insult by Mr Last.
"The federal government has played their part in attracting doctors to Clermont and a mining company has actually funded a recruitment campaign," he said.
"Steven Miles and Labor, meanwhile, have done nothing.
"My advice to people thinking dialysis would be soon available in their home town would be to talk to patients in Bowen and Home Hill first.
"Then you will see that, when it comes to actually delivering health services in regional Queensland, Labor has zero credibility."