A specialist renal unit has opened at Frimley Park, making state-of-the-art inpatient kidney care available locally for the first time.
The eight-bed unit enables hospital patients to receive dialysis treatment on site rather than face a transfer to another centre. Previously, inpatients with serious kidney problems were taken to a specialist renal care hub at St Helier Hospital in south-west London.
Patients in a stable renal condition faced ambulance journeys to dialysis centres in Farnborough or Basingstoke.
Dialysis involves filtering waste products and excess fluid from a patient’s blood when their kidneys stop working properly. The most common form of dialysis, haemodialysis, takes about four hours and is typically carried out three times a week.
Frimley Health launched the new renal unit in partnership with St Helier Hospital, which already ran outpatient renal clinics at Frimley.
The inpatient renal unit is part of a wider regional renal strategy to provide a better experience for Frimley Park patients and their families by limiting their need to travel. Frimley Park dialysed its first patient on 12 January.
Matron Phillippa Rodwell was pivotal in setting up the new unit, from choosing the colour scheme to advising on ward layout and recruiting its 12-strong nursing team. She said: “The new renal unit here at Frimley Park Hospital is great news for our patients who need haemodialysis treatment.
“Whether they come to hospital with an acute kidney injury, or are an inpatient who also has chronic renal issues, we can now meet their dialysis needs here.
“If, for example, a patient arrives with a broken hip but also has a chronic kidney condition, the hospital can dialyse them and meet their orthopaedic needs, all under one roof.
“Dialysing patients at Frimley instead of transferring them to a centre a considerable distance away vastly improves the patient experience and makes it easier for their relatives to visit them.”
Dr David Evans, one of the four St Helier consultant nephrologists supporting the unit, said: “Frimley is a large acute hospital with services such as acute cardiology, a hyper acute stroke unit and vascular surgery, meaning its population has an increased risk of requiring renal services which the trust was keen to provide in a more patient-centred fashion.
“This local satellite renal unit enables seven-day specialist renal care without the need for transfer to St Helier.”
Although the unit primarily provides inpatient haemodialysis, further renal services are expected to be developed over time, including renal biopsies.