Big Red Kidney Bus


As you drove along Latje Road past Robinvale District Health Services (RDHS) during the month of May, you may have noticed a big red bus. The vehicle is the “The Big Red Kidney Bus.” Kidney Health Australia and Monash Health are renting the bus to RDHS for 6 weeks to conduct dialysis as their current unit is renovated.

The bus usually spends its time travelling around and staying often in caravan parks and servicing people on holidays that need dialysis.

The RDHS Dialysis Unit has Binu Joy (Nursing Services Officer) responsible for the unit and a total of 7 staff are trained to conduct dialysis.

Presently the building works are underway with a very tight time line. When the tender was put out it was with the understanding that the task was to be completed within 5-6 weeks in alignment with the availability of the bus. The tender for the construction of the new unit was awarded to Neil Tolley.

Dialysis patients currently receive treatment on Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning and afternoon shifts.

The Robinvale Dialysis Unit is affiliated with the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The Royal Melbourne Hospital Kidney Care acts as a renal hub provider for 22 regional satellite dialysis units throughout Victoria, where haemodialysis is provided for patients in their local communities by regional and rural health services. RDHS is one of the rural satellite dialysis units. The Royal Melbourne Hospital are able to discuss progress and management issues with nursing staff and this arrangement enables patients to stay locally to receive their treatment. This is also supported by a visiting Renal Clinic every 8 weeks.

Royal Melbourne believe they are developing the cutting edge model of hub and spoke service which may be a paradigm for other networks and regions, and the survival figures speak for themselves.

The alternative to treatment in Robinvale is travelling to Mildura.

When RDHS was planning how to go about improving the local facility Professor Holt from Royal Melbourne Hospital suggested Monash Health’s Red Kidney Bus. Monash was contacted and as a result the bus is here for six weeks while Robinvale’s new Dialysis Unit is completed.

Peter Rickard from RDHS needed to ensure there was adequate drainage and water supply for the bus and with the help of Royal Melbourne and Monash technicians the bus was ready. The dialysis machines in the bus were exchanged for Robinvale’s own so the staff were familiar with the machines.

When the Sentinel visited the bus with the Director of Clinical Services, Leanne Adcock, there were three patients receiving dialysis treatment. The bus was compact but comfortable. It was warm in the bus and the patients were very happy with the services offered.

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