Tuesday, July 12, 2005

New unit a boost for dialysis patients

St Bernard’s Hospital

Local patients needing dialysis treatment will no longer have to travel to Spain following the opening of the new Dialysis Unit at St Bernard’s Hospital yesterday.

The unit is equipped with seven dialysis machines and will transform the lives of those whose health relies on this treatment.

Until yesterday, they had no other option but to travel to La Linea several times a week.

“We are talking about people who often have significant health problems, so not having to travel is very important,” said Dr David McCutcheon, Chief Executive of the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA).

The dialysis unit, which has cost a total of around £300,000, will start running with three weekly sessions for the seven patients who currently require this treatment.

The unit is fitted out with modern, state of the art technology - including its own water treatment plant - and, as well as six stations in the main room, includes an isolation room for use by patients with infectious diseases such as hepatitis.
Each machine acts as an “artificial kidney” and replaces the functions of that organ, removing the body’s waste products from the blood.

Treatment has to be carried out several times a week and lasts for a number of hours.
With that in mind, the dialysis unit boasts magnificent views across the Strait of Gibraltar and will soon be equipped with two giant television screens. Such comforts will be greatly appreciated by dialysis patients, who will on average spend 10% of their lives undergoing this treatment.

Initially, the Dialysis Unit will be managed and run under a contract with the clinic in La Linea that has been providing the service to Gibraltarian patients up until now.

“This will ensure continuity in the level of clinical service provided to the patients as well as providing the confidence and reassurance for them that the service is being provided by the same familiar faces,” the GHA said in a statement.

Heading the Clinical Management Team is Consultant Nephrologist Dr Joaquin Lopez Rodriguez, who has many years of experience in the care of patients requiring renal dialysis. He will work with two nurses from the Spanish clinic.

The GHA will provide the training opportunity for locally recruited nurses who will in due course take over the provision of the nursing service within the Dialysis Unit.

Related Articles and Links:

08 July 2005 - New Dialysis Unit at St Bernard's Hospital

Kidney failure (renal failure with uraemia, or azotaemia)

British Kidney Patient Association

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