New unit for Northumberland kidney patients

Kidney patient Christine Gill.
Kidney patient Christine Gill.

Patients are getting the choice of having their renal dialysis closer to home, thanks to a new partnership.

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and independent dialysis provider Renal Services UK have teamed up to open a satellite haemodialysis unit at Greensfield Court, Alnwick.

The unit will provide dialysis services for patients living in north Northumberland who have previously had to travel for their thrice-weekly treatment at the Freeman Hospital’s renal services centre.

The new service is run by nurses specially trained to provide dialysis and patients will remain under the care of their Newcastle-based consultant nephrologists.

While Newcastle Hospitals retains overall responsibility for the quality and safety of the dialysis services, the partnership combines the strengths of the two different healthcare organisations; bringing together the operational effectiveness of Renal Services UK with Newcastle Hospitals’ hugely respected clinical excellence.

Christine Gill, 63, from Lesbury, was thrilled when she heard that she would be one of the first patients to use the new unit and says it will make a world of difference.

She said: “The journey from where I live can take up to 40 minutes to an hour each way and this makes for a long day. Being able to literally pop over to Alnwick in minutes means I will get a huge part of my life back.”

Mrs Gill had a kidney transplant in 2004 but unfortunately the new kidney stopped working last year and she started attending the Freeman for dialysis treatment.

“The staff in Newcastle are wonderful and I will miss them. I’ve also made many new friends amongst the other patients who come here for their dialysis but I have to say I’m delighted to be able to use the new unit,” she said.

Dr Alison Brown, consultant nephrologist and clinical lead for renal services at Freeman Hospitals, said: “This new partnership with Renal Services UK is very exciting. The new unit offers a local and more convenient service for some of our patients, whilst maintaining the standards provided at the Freeman Hospital.

“Patients requiring haemodialysis treatment, currently come into the renal services centre at the Freeman Hospital three times a week, and some patients travel from north Northumberland, so we are delighted that we can offer these patients access to their treatment, at the same high quality, closer to home.”

Renal Services UK designs, develops and operates dialysis facilities, working in partnership with nephrologists and dialysis professionals with the aim of delivering the highest level of care in the most comfortable environment. It currently has six units operating across the UK in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Lincolnshire and Cornwall.

Stefano Ciampolini, chief executive officer and founder of Renal Services, said: “Our patients are at the heart of everything we do. By providing efficient and effective community based dialysis closer to home, we give our patients greater personal control and choice, helping them to stay independent for longer.”