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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Renal expansion at Whitehaven means more patients to be treated locally

Renal expansion at Whitehaven means more patients to be treated locally

Posted on Friday 15th June 2018

Last week marked the official opening of the Trust’s newly expanded Renal unit at WCH, allowing more people to receive kidney dialysis treatment closer to home. 

To help meet the ever increasing demand for dialysis services, the new unit at WCH has been expanded from seventreatment spaces to 11. The extra four spaces will allow a further 16 people to receive their dialysis treatment in WCH. The expansion, which is located adjacent to the current unit in the previous maternity ward, will also provide a training room for home haemodialysis to build on the work on self-care dialysis which is ongoing within the unit. 

Patient Craig Bell from Whitehaven has been receiving dialysis treatment in hospital for just over a year. Prior to May this year (when the first patient were treated in the expanded unit) Craig had to travel to the Cumberland infirmary in Carlisle for his treatment. He said: “I was going to Carlisle and receiving my treatment three times a week for four hours a day. But actually with the travel to Carlisle, this meant I was out for up to 8 hours. So its brilliant that I can now come to West Cumberland Hospital, it cuts my travelling down significantly.”

Mark Nicholson, from Workington, also receives dialysis treatment at WCH after travelling to Carlisle. He has been receiving treatment since last September. He said: “It’s so much better being able to come to the hospital in Whitehaven. It makes it so much easier not just for me but also my family. I’ve been able to make friends who receive their treatment at the same time, and even attended Craig’s 50th birthday recently. The care from staff at Whitehaven is second to none, I can’t fault it!”

Edwina Gaythwaite from Whitehaven receives her dialysis treatment at home, and has been on dialysis for 18 months. She said: “I like to receive the home dialysis treatment as it gives me a lot more freedom, although I’m not isolated as the staff at the Trust run a social group for home dialysis patients three times a year, so I can socialise with those who receive similar treatment.”

Louise Atkinson, staff nurse for the Home Therapies team, said: “The kind of dialysis treatment a patient prefers to receive – be it at home or in the hospital – is really down to their individual preferences and their lifestyle. We’re now in a position where we can give our patients a lot more choice of treatment and where to have it, as one size does not fit all for renal patients. Obviously needing such frequent dialysis treatment has a big impact on people’s live and we need our treatments to suit any lifestyle, across the whole of north Cumbria. We’re very much about getting patients involved as much as we can in their own care.”

Andrew Bow, renal consultant at WCH, said: “It’s lovely to be able to provide long-term regular, frequent treatment to patients in West Cumbria and prevent them having to travel to Carlisle for their treatment. This is what the future of renal services in Whitehaven looks like; the expansion will continue the work of this great little unit in helping patients to be involved in their treatment, and ultimately help those patients administer their own therapy at home.”