• Ken Wyatt says the federal funding will fund a comprehensive review into kidney transplants. (AAP)Source: AAP
An expert panel will investigate and identify barriers faced by Indigenous people in need of kidney donations.
By
Peggy Giakoumelos

22 Jun 2018 - 6:05 PM  UPDATED 22 Jun 2018 - 6:06 PM

The federal government has launched an inquiry into the low kidney-transplant rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

An expert panel has been asked to develop a national framework for an integrated model of care to reduce the higher rates of end-stage kidney disease among Indigenous Australians.

Research shows non-Indigenous patients are nearly four times more likely to receive kidney transplants, and Indigenous people are also nine times as likely to rely on dialysis.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt told reporters the federal government funding of $250,000 would allow the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand to lead a comprehensive review into the barriers faced by Indigenous people in receiving treatment for renal disease.

Mr Wyatt said there are many inconsistencies in accessing treatment.

"I read the story of a man yesterday who lived in Queensland and - on two occasions - was not included on the transplant list even though he had asked, came down to the southern regions and worked - I think it was Sydney -and was put on the list immediately following his first treatment," he said.

"So you beg the question as to what's the difference that enables him in one location to be on a list, yet, in another, to be rejected."

Mr Wyatt said in December 2016 there were almost 2,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians receiving either dialysis or kidney transplants.

Of those, 13 per cent had received kidney transplants, compared with 50 per cent for non-Indigenous Australians.

Governments must step up to the plate on life-saving dialysis treatment, Indigenous groups
Indigenous organisations in the Northern Territory are calling on all levels of government to step up to the plate to help fund life-saving dialysis treatment in remote communities.

Mr Wyatt said it is hard to know exactly what unspoken factors are at play in deciding who gets early access to a kidney transplant.

"This provides an opportunity to create the pathways that will see more Indigenous Australians being considered for kidney transplants."

Meggan Grose told the ABC she had a kidney transplant four years ago after receiving dialysis for seven years. 

"So before, I would have had to book dialysis in other places and probably not even have been able to travel, because you've got to have access to a hospital," she said.

"And if they don't have a dialysis chair for you, you just can't travel. So now I can actually go overseas. I only went ... it was my first time overseas last year, just simply because I've got a kidney."

The expert panel will consist of health, policy and academic analysts and Indigenous representatives. It will develop a long-term strategy to address the low-transplantation rate for COAG consideration in 2019.

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