PEOPLE with kidney disease on dialysis treatment in South Cumbria will gain easier access to treatment with the opening of a new facility in Ulverston and provision of additional services in Kendal from next year.
Haemodialysis is a treatment to remove waste products and extra fluid from the blood, and is given to patients whose kidneys have stopped working properly. Patients undergo dialysis several times a week in a local centre, or where possible in their own home.
Under current arrangements, patients from the Furness area have to travel to Kendal several times a week for treatment, but the new facility in Ulverston will bring their treatment much closer to home.
New training facilities based at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal will offer improved access to support for patients who wish to manage their own treatment at home, so people from South Cumbria no longer need to travel to Chorley. Care at the Kendal facility will continue to be provided by NHS staff.
The improvements will be overseen by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for renal services across Lancashire and South Cumbria and has awarded a new seven-year contract to Diaverum Facilities Management to deliver the service.
Dr Mark Brady, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Clinical Director for Renal Medicine, said: “Our vision is to provide high-quality services for our patients either at home or as close as possible to home. We are very excited about this long-awaited development.
“The award of this contract will mean patients in East Lancashire, North Lancashire and South Cumbria will receive more accessible treatment in improved surroundings and, where appropriate, better access to the support they need to manage their own treatment at home.”
Nora Kerigan, Renal Deputy Divisional Nursing Director, said: “We believe that our new partnership with Diaverum will lead to significant improvements in quality of care for people needing renal treatment across the region and fewer people needing to travel to Preston for their treatment.”
Under the seven-year contract, Diaverum will operate haemodialysis and outpatient services covering East Lancashire, North Lancashire and South Cumbria.
In East Lancashire, the service is currently operated across three sites. The service will move from existing locations in Burnley and Accrington, already subcontracted to Diaverum, to a new improved centre near Burnley serving patients closest to the new location with greater capacity and facilities. In Blackburn, where the service is currently operated in a portable building by a separate company, Fresenius, a new purpose-built facility with much bigger capacity will be created on the Royal Blackburn site.
The new centres will be designed to enable maximum accessibility, bringing treatment closer to home for patients with specific mobility or infection control needs. There will be enough clinic room capacity to allow dialysis and outpatient appointments to take place in the same building, as well as video consultation facilities.
Dialysis services provided by the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals at sites in Preston and Chorley will remain unchanged and continue to be delivered at the current locations by NHS staff.
The service provided on behalf of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals by Fresenius in Clifton is also unaffected.