A brand new stand-alone kidney unit in Dunstable, the Chiltern Kidney Centre, has been officially opened following a £4.2 million project by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust to re-locate their Luton renal unit.
Staff and patients were joined by Trust chair Ellen Schroder and representatives from the Lister Area Kidney Patients Association (LAKPA) who have been closely involved with the project over several years.
With more space, the new centre will be able to care for the increasing numbers of patients in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire needing support for chronic kidney disease.
The modern facilities include isolation rooms for high risk patients and 30 haemodialysis stations. This includes dedicated rooms for patients to self-dialysis which gives patients more independence and the flexibility to manage their treatment. There is also space for shared care so patients can manage part of their treatment with the dialysis team supporting them. Specialist care and support services are also provided on-site and the Trust plans to offer transplant and multidisciplinary care clinics in the future.
Claire Thompson from Luton has been a dialysis patient for over 10 years.
“I was previously going to the unit at Luton and Dunstable Hospital three times a week. After all this time I consider dialysis as so much part of life that I try not to be downbeat and look upon it as like having a part-time job, although I really hope to be able to join the transplant register soon.
“I’m very impressed with the new centre. It’s very spacious, modern and up to date with great improvements such as ample parking. I’m also really pleased to be cared for by the same team of staff and that the move to the Chiltern Kidney Centre has gone smoothly with clinics starting at the new unit. Although life on dialysis inevitably feels like being on a treadmill, the opening of the new centre has made it feel so much easier.”
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust chief executive Nick Carver said: “The new centre will make an enormous difference to our patients. Many need several dialysis treatments a week, often for hours at a time and these fantastic new modern facilities offer a much more comfortable environment for treatment. With much more space we’re also pleased to be offering dedicated areas for patients to self-dialyse.”
Chairman of the Lister Area Kidney Patients Association (LAKPA) Kirit Modi said: “I am delighted that these excellent facilities are now available to kidney patients from Luton and Dunstable. We are pleased to have worked so closely with the trust throughout the project enabling us to share the views of patients, their families and carers. Our ambition is to continue to work the trust and develop a wide range of high quality services at the centre. We want the Chiltern Kidney Centre to be among the best in the UK.”
The trust successfully secured funding for the new centre from Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) now known as the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System.