New dialysis unit opens at St Thomas' Hospital on 50th anniversary


Posted on Thursday 25 July 2019
Sir Hugh Taylor with Elizabeth Sevens at opening of new dialysis centre

Sir Hugh Taylor with Liz Stevens

A new dialysis unit has opened at St Thomas’ on the 50th anniversary of the life-saving treatment provided by the hospital.

St Thomas’ patients will see improved service and care without having to face the inconvenience of travelling two miles for treatment in the main dialysis unit at Guy’s Hospital.

This reduces the risk of health complications that can lead to having additional procedures or being forced to increase their use of less efficient portable machines.

The new nurse-led unit, which offers four dialysis stations in a purpose-built setting, also doubles the number of St Thomas’ patients who are dialysed from four to eight per day. If needed, an extra shift could be introduced to expand the service to treat up to 12 patients every day.

The unit was officially opened this week (23 July) by Liz Stevens, who was head of nursing for renal services from 1971 to 1988, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Chairman Sir Hugh Taylor. The unit is on the 12th floor of St Thomas’ hospital and opens 7am-8.30pm, Monday to Saturday.

Sir Hugh said: “It is incredible to think that it’s 50 years since we first carried out life-saving dialysis here at Guy’s and St Thomas’.  

“With this new unit, patients have a better service with the latest technology in a much more pleasant environment with improved comfort and privacy.”

Sue Lyon, chair of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Kidney Patients’ Association, has been a Guy’s kidney patient since 1977. She said: “This is good news for patients at St Thomas’ who now won’t have to travel across to Guy’s for dialysis. Being unwell and having to travel across town for what is quite draining treatment in itself, is likely to make you feel worse.”

Nicholas Palmer, head of patient support and advocacy at Kidney Care UK, welcomed the new unit. A Guy’s patient since 2010, he was first diagnosed with a rare kidney disease in 1996, has had two transplants which both worked for several years but then failed.

He described dialysis, which he has to perform five times a week, as ‘hard’ and ‘relentless’. “It’s probably the most challenging treatment any patient can undergo but it keeps me and others like me alive. Without it, I would be dead in less than two weeks.”

He points to technological improvements that mean more patients can care for themselves at home through home dialysis and, for the first time, for those able to travel with a large 44kg machine, enjoy ‘normal’ holidays.

Mr Palmer said: “Taking the dialysis machine away means I can carry on with exactly the same number of treatments on holiday as I have at home. This means there is no change to my care and I don’t have to locate myself near to a dialysis unit. I’m in control.”

Find out more about Guy’s and St Thomas’ range of dialysis services in this YouTube film. The first dialysis unit opened in 1969 at The Lambeth Hospital, which at that time was part of St Thomas’ hospital group.

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