PORT HEDLAND, Australia, Aug. 15 (UPI) — Some chronically ill patients at an Australian hospital, including dialysis patients, say they have to live in the open or in small tents near the facility.
They say they are stuck there because they need regular healthcare from the hospital but cannot afford to live anywhere else, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.
A number of camps have grown up near the hospital at Port Hedland in the Pilbara, a large, dry, thinly populated region in the north of Western Australia known for its vast mineral deposits.
One camp resident says wealth from the mines in the area is not trickling through to everyone living there.
“I think that the people on dialysis, they need to be given a house somewhere, shelter, [rather] than living here,” Cheryl Brown said.
West Australian Housing Minister Troy Buswell called the housing problem a significant issue and a hostel would be built to house those living in camps.
“Port Hedland, because of its nature, is a regional health facility. People travel in to Port Hedland for a whole range of treatment, including dialysis,” he said.
“A lot of them are currently in accommodation, which is not of a suitable standard.
“As part of the new hospital development at Port Hedland, a new hostel is being built, which will provide better accommodation options for those people who have to travel into Port Hedland to seek medical care,” he said.