ARARAT - Observers and outsiders can praise the East Grampians Health Service new dialysis and oncology unit until they are blue in the face, but it is the patients who depend on the service who are best placed to judge whether it will meet their needs and offer them the quality of care they deserve.
Max Howden has been a dialysis patient at East Grampians Health for three and half years and is confident the facilities will deliver on the objective to improve access and reduce travel and associated costs to patients, improve quality of life and improve efficiency and effectiveness of the service.
"This is something pretty unique in that it affects any person at any age. We have six people here, the youngest is 18 and the oldest is over 80," he said.
"You need a facility like this, especially when you have people that spend so much time with each other - you want to be compatible with one another.
"We have fun and we share good and bad moments. Sometimes it isn't easy, but we share both the disappointments and the joys.
"I've been a patient for three and a half years and in that time there have been many very happy stories where people have received brand new kidneys and as a result can start to lead a brand new life."
Mr Howden said the staff are brilliant and so often become a part of a patient's extended family sharing stories and interests they wouldn't ordinarily talk about with others.