New renal unit opens

AFTER an upgrade costing �750,000, the renal unit at Lister Hospital in Stevenage opened its doors to patients last week. The unit has been relocated from its original site to one that is about 50 per cent bigger. The move has allowed the number of dialys

AFTER an upgrade costing �750,000, the renal unit at Lister Hospital in Stevenage opened its doors to patients last week.

The unit has been relocated from its original site to one that is about 50 per cent bigger.

The move has allowed the number of dialysis stations to increase from 20 to 25, meaning an extra 25 to 30 patients can be treated on top of the 110 currently using the facility. It also allows for four side rooms, instead of two.

Bridget Sanders, the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust's general manager for renal services, said: "It's great for patients already on dialysis because they'll get a totally new, state-of-the-art unit with a much improved environment for them to be treated in.

"And of course it will benefit patients who aren't even with us because we'll be able to offer them treatment rather than them having to travel out of the area for dialysis."

She added: "Managing things like infection control will be much easier with so much more space."

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The Trust is planning to turn the former renal unit at Lister into a training area where people will learn to use state-of-the-art home dialysis machines from the United States, in which the Trust hopes to invest soon.

Bridget said this will enable patients to dialyse themselves at home up to five or six times a week, rather than making the trip to hospital three times a week.

As a result, patients will feel much better as more regular dialysis frees patients from diet and fluid restrictions, which many find hard to cope with.

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