Posted on Monday 18 June 2018
A patient receiving dialysis.
A state-of-the-art facility for patients who need dialysis is being built at University Hospital Lewisham.
Construction of the unit, run in partnership between Guy’s and St Thomas’ and kidney dialysis specialist providers Diaverum, has started this week and the new facility is expected to open next spring.
The purpose-built unit will have five more dialysis stations than the existing centre in Forest Hill which it will replace.
It will also include two side rooms dedicated to caring for inpatients at University Hospital Lewisham who need dialysis. Currently these patients are often transferred to Guy’s Hospital for dialysis, a round trip which can take up to eight hours, or if they are not fit to travel they have to receive dialysis in the intensive care unit at University Hospital Lewisham.
There is a need to increase the dialysis capacity in the local area but it is not feasible to develop services further at the current building in Forest Hill. The new unit will be modern, spacious and more comfortable for patients. It will be staffed by the same team and operate the same opening hours as the Forest Hill centre.
Ros Tibbles, service improvement nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says: “Our new dialysis unit at University Hospital Lewisham will have 20 dialysis stations instead of the 15 we have at the Forest Hill centre, allowing us to dialyse many more patients each week.
“The environment at the new unit will be much more pleasant for patients and it will bring vast improvements of comfort and privacy. This is especially important for this group of patients who require dialysis three times a week, for four to five hours at a time.
“We are committed to improving patient care and experience and we are confident that the new dialysis unit will make a big difference to our patients.”
Michael Hartnett, Managing Director for Diaverum, says: “We are very excited to have the green light to build the new dialysis facility at Lewisham Hospital. The current centre in Forest Hill has been in operation since 2000 and does not benefit from the latest innovations in dialysis unit design and comforts.
“We will now build a state-of-the-art new facility in Lewisham that will provide a highly functional yet warm and homely environment for our patients, and for our clinical team.”
Dr Elizabeth Aitken, Medical Director for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, says: “We are delighted that we are working in partnership to set up this new renal dialysis unit at University Hospital Lewisham.
“The new unit will significantly improve the experience of our hospital patients who require dialysis. These patients will no longer need to be transferred off-site to receive dialysis treatment. This will mean rehabilitation treatment will not be interrupted, enabling them to recover faster.”
Gina Pattullo, from Forest Hill, has been receiving dialysis at the current centre for the last eight years since being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease which affected her kidney function.
She says: “I have dialysis three times a week and spend around five hours each time at the centre in Forest Hill. The facility now looks very tired and is not suited to its current use. It is also quite overcrowded so you can often hear the conversations going on around you.
“I spend a lot of time having dialysis so I’m looking forward to receiving it in a more comfortable and spacious environment with better facilities and technology.
“The staff are great – they are very attentive and caring and really go out of their way to make patients feel comfortable.”