Patients living with kidney failure can now plan holidays without the worry of missing life-saving treatment, with the launch of the first mobile dialysis service in a bus.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the NSW Government has provided more than $382,000 for up to 250 patients a year to receive dialysis on the Big Red Kidney Bus, which will tour popular holiday spots across NSW.

“It is tough enough living with kidney disease, without being tied down to your home and unable to take a break due to the restrictions of dialysis,” said Mr Hazzard.

“This fantastic service means that patients can plan a trip or travel to see friends and family and still be able to receive life-saving treatment.”

The Big Red Kidney Bus, a partnership between Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) and Kidney Health Australia, is a state-of-the art unit fitted with three dialysis chairs and will provide about 1,500 dialysis treatments a year when at full capacity.

The bus will complement the state-wide service currently delivered through RNSH’s Sydney Dialysis Centre.

Mikaela Stafrace, CEO of Kidney Health Australia, said almost 3,000 people in NSW are living on haemodialysis, however many more are at risk of kidney disease.

“Early kidney disease has no signs or symptoms and can affect people of all ages. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, weight problems, people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, smokers and those with a family history of kidney problems should ask their doctor for a Kidney Health Check every two years,” said Ms Stafrace.

Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch is delighted the first stop for the Big Red Kidney Bus will be one of the best-known getaways in NSW.

“The Central Coast has become the destination of choice for holiday makers in NSW so we are thrilled the bus will allow people on dialysis and their families to holiday here,” said Mr Crouch.

The bus will stop for six weeks in each holiday location, beginning in Umina (15 May-24 June), Nelson Bay (3 July-1 August), Coffs Harbour (21 August-30 September) and Ballina (9 October-18 November). Bookings can be made be made by contacting Kidney Health Australia bigredkidneybus@kidney.org.au or by calling 1800 454 363.