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Plan to take dialysis to rural areas

PUBLISHED: 09:36 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:22 06 July 2010

PLANS have been unveiled to create two new dialysis units in Norfolk and Waveney that would bring vital treatment closer to kidney patients living in rural areas.

PLANS have been unveiled to create two new dialysis units in Norfolk and Waveney that would bring vital treatment closer to kidney patients living in rural areas.

The NHS is proposing to put in a new dialysis unit in Aylsham, and another in the Beccles and Bungay area.

The plans, outlined by NHS East of England's Specialised Commissioning Group (SCG), aim to improve services and create new treatment bases so that the majority of dialysis patients live no more than 30 minutes away.

Patients needing regular dialysis often spend considerable time travelling to and from units added to the treatment time.

There are currently dialysis facilities in Norwich, Cromer, King's Lynn and Gorleston. Last month the EDP reported that Wells hospital is hoping to provide dialysis facilities there. The plans are currently waiting for approval.

Under the new proposals, Aylsham and Beccles or Bungay would have six and five dialysis stations respectively, with room for further expansion.

The plans have been welcomed by David Lawn, 45, from North Walsham, who suffers from renal failure and has been having dialysis on and off for 25 years. He currently has dialysis in Cromer for four hours a day, three days a week. He says he has seen improvements since the days he used to make the 40-mile round trip to Norwich.

He said: “Obviously to reduce travelling time reduces the time you are away from home. Anything that's closer has got to be an improvement. I drive myself in but there are a lot of patients who rely on hospital transport.”

“The more dialysis units they can open, the more it will benefit patients.”

Although the general locations have been identified, exact sites have not yet been decided. It is predicted that the numbers of people in the region requiring dialysis will increase by 5pc per year until at least 2030, resulting in 2,868 patients by 2020.

A public consultation session was held yesterday at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and one was previously held in Norwich.

Anyone wanting to have their say on the proposals before the deadline on March 8 can do so by visiting www.eoescg.nhs.uk or phoning 01279 666388 for a copy of the consultation document. The final decision is due to be made on March 24.

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