Janet and Navio Zeglio have put out a desperate plea to bring kidney dialysis services closer to home. Picture: Laura Thomas
Janet and Navio Zeglio have put out a desperate plea to bring kidney dialysis services closer to home. Picture: Laura Thomas

‘If he knew the whole story...I think he’d change his mind’

THE Midge Point man who spearheaded a petition to bring a kidney dialysis unit to Proserpine Hospital says he will continue pushing for change despite a lack of commitment from the State Government.

Every Wednesday, Navio Zeglio wakes up at 5.30am to begin the hour and a half drive to Mackay Hospital with his wife Janet who was been on kidney dialysis for about eight months.

The return journey takes them about nine hours on a good day, which Mr Zeglio said puts extra strain on an already difficult situation and puts their health and safety at risk.

Mr Zeglio launched a petition in June urging the State Government to consider installing a renal unit at Proserpine Hospital, which would mean the couple and many other Whitsunday residents could receive treatment closer to home.

Health Minister Steven Miles responded to the petition last week and mentioned the government's $20 million commitment over four years to deliver expanded renal services closer to home for people living in North Queensland.

 

Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan (right) launched a petition at Proserpine Hospital alongside Midge Point resident Navio Zeglio in June.
Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan (right) launched a petition at Proserpine Hospital alongside Midge Point resident Navio Zeglio in June.

 

He also addressed the petition while announcing hospital expansions on Wednesday, saying he was "really keen" to explore a renal unit in Proserpine.

However, Mr Zeglio said while it would be "jolly good" of Mr Miles to deliver on the statements he made yesterday, he was not confident the urgency of the situation was clear.

"I'm not happy with the response but I'm not sure that the minister knows too much about it," he said.

"I'd like to thank him for the response, although to me it's more tainted with that political jargon.

"I just feel he's not quite familiar with what the overall situation is.

"If he knew the whole story, seeing as he's done what he's done, I think he'd change his mind."

Mr Zeglio said there had been several problems with his wife's treatment that were made worse by the long travel to and from Mackay.

He had also heard stories of Airlie Beach residents who denied treatment after they learned of the costs and struggles associated with travelling to receive treatment.

More stories

Uni students with debts to pay could help Bowen farms

Proserpine golfers nab top spots in stableford

MP bills taxpayers $13k for virtual meet, China articles

In 2019, a satellite renal unit was set up in Bowen, however Mr Zeglio said it wasn't accessible to many people and a Proserpine unit would help ease the burden.

"The renal unit at Proserpine Hospital would be more central to the regional areas like Collinsville and Bowen and communities like Midge Point and even halfway down to Mackay," he said.

"If there was one in Proserpine, the more serious patients wouldn't have so far to go and that could be juggled between Bowen and Proserpine."

Unfortunately, Mrs Zeglio's condition has progressed to the point where she needs a specialised doctor present during her treatment and Mr Zeglio doubted whether a satellite unit in Proserpine would be able to cater to her needs anymore.

However, he said he would continue to push for change to help other people in their situation.

"It would be a great benefit to the Whitsundays, never mind us, it's of a great benefit to the Whitsundays," he said.

Mr and Mrs Zeglio asked anyone undergoing kidney dialysis treatment or anyone who had refused treatment to contact them at jzeglio@bigpond.com