Kintyre dialysis unit’s success is welcome news for Bute campaign

Haemodialysis patients typically spend four hours a day, three days a week, having their blood cleaned by a dialysis machine.
Haemodialysis patients typically spend four hours a day, three days a week, having their blood cleaned by a dialysis machine.

Thanks to the success of an outreach community dialysis unit in Campbeltown, Bute is one step closer to seeing a similar unit established on the island.

Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership will meet with representatives of Bute Kidney Patients Support Group - which launched a fund-raising campaign in October 2015, and has raised over £70,000 so far - later this month to discuss the viability of bringing a unit to island patients.

In 2014 as part of a development project there was an examination of whether hospital dialysis services could be introduced locally for Kintyre residents who had difficulties accessing treatment due to having to undergo a six-hour round trip to Glasgow three times a week for dialysis.

This examination highlighted that through changes in practice and the support of a specialist team in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde an innovative hub and spoke outreach community dialysis unit could be provided at Campbeltown Hospital with links to the specialist staff in Glasgow.

The proposal for this model was supported by the local community in Kintyre and a number of kidney dialysis voluntary groups/charities. Between them they agreed to fund the capital and staff training costs to establish the unit which would operate as a pilot for one year.

An evaluation in the autumn of 2016 demonstrated that the unit has operated successfully and safely and met clinical outcomes and patient needs. It has also significantly reduced the travelling required for dialysis as well as improving the health and wellbeing of patients.

As a result of this successful evaluation the HSCP has approved the continuation of the dialysis service in Kintyre and agreed to expand the catchment area to residents within the Mid Argyll locality.

Kristin Gillies, Senior Service Planning Manager for Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “I am delighted that the evaluation of the Kintyre Community Dialysis Unit has highlighted the success of the project and that it has made a great difference to the quality of life of patients accessing the service. They no longer have to undergo a six-hour round trip to Glasgow three times a week and accessing dialysis services locally has also had a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.

“I would also like to put on record my thanks to the local community in Kintyre for their financial support. The staff working in the Unit have also been extremely dedicated, especially the five nurses who spent months in Glasgow training as dialysis nurses, and the support from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has also been excellent.

“The decision by Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership to continue to provide the service in Kintyre is therefore very welcome as is their agreement to expand the catchment area for the Kintyre service to patients living in the Mid Argyll area.

“The HSCP has also agreed to look at the expansion of dialysis services in other areas where there is a local need. We will therefore be starting a scoping exercise on Bute to look at the viability of a Dialysis Unit on the island and I will be meeting with representatives from the Bute Kidney Patients Support Group on January 18 to discuss this further.

“This whole project has proved that with the support of the community and experienced dedicated staff we can make a real difference to the lives of people within Argyll and Bute.”