TRACIE Davies gets up in the dark three days a week to catch the bus that carries her to five or six hours of renal dialysis at Launceston Kings Meadows satellite treatment unit.
By the time the bus gets back to Burnie again and she drives home to South Riana, it's often dark again.
And Ms Davies is tired.
So exhausted that she often spends the next day recovering instead of tending to her horses or the garden that she loves.
Then she wakes up the next morning and does it all over again.
Ms Davies is one of the eight North-West Coast renal patients who now have to travel to Launceston for their life-saving treatment because there is no room for them at the Burnie satellite unit.
The North-West unit is full and overflowing since it was reduced to three opening days a week.
The extra burden of the eight patients so far from the North-West at the Launceston satellite unit means that it too is now full and overflowing.
Ms Davies has driven herself to and from Launceston for treatment in the past couple of weeks to try to avoid the long bus trip but admits that is not ideal.
``The treatment is so tiring and it's dangerous to drive,'' she said.
``It's all horrible.''
Tasmanian Health Organisation North acting chief executive Sonia Purse confirmed yesterday that the North-West renal unit, which is co-ordinated by the Northern health organisation, had reached capacity for its three opening days of 30 haemodialysis patients.
``The North-West unit also supports 20 peritoneal dialysis patients and five home haemodialysis patients,'' Ms Purse said.
The need to accommodate the North-West patients has meant that many Northern patients have had their treatment schedules changed, Ms Purse said.
Some patients who travel from as far away as St Helens now have to take treatment on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Some patients have been pushed back into the Launceston General Hospital acute care renal unit for their treatment because of lack of space at Kings Meadows.
Ms Davies urged the state government to provide the funding needed to run Burnie at least five days a week.
``The bottom line is the funding needs to be directed to Burnie to increase the shifts and employ more nurses,'' she said.
``This is a life and death issue and also a quality of life issue.''
A government spokesman said that the North and North-West health organisations were continuing to work collaboratively to explore all available options for North-West renal services.