Bute dialysis unit dream comes true

Bute Kidney Patients Support Group. From Left to Right, front row: Flora Lappin, Jean McMillan, Ann Polea, Helen McLachlan, Irene Wilson. From Left to Right back row: Brian Balmain, Hamish Kirk, Allan McFarlane, Gary Lappin, Maureen MacDonald, Shirley McFarlane & Sharon Cole
Bute Kidney Patients Support Group. From Left to Right, front row: Flora Lappin, Jean McMillan, Ann Polea, Helen McLachlan, Irene Wilson. From Left to Right back row: Brian Balmain, Hamish Kirk, Allan McFarlane, Gary Lappin, Maureen MacDonald, Shirley McFarlane & Sharon Cole

After years of campaigning and fund-raising on the island it has been announced that a much-needed dialysis unit is to be built in Rothesay.

Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) in partnership with the Bute Kidney Patients Support Group and the DR J N Marshall Memorial Trust are delighted to announce that there has been agreement to build a dialysis unit at Victoria Hospital.

The process to get a local dialysis unit was started by Bute Kidney Patients Support Group (BKPSG) around 15 years ago by the late John Polea, and still contains many of the same committee members to this day.

Over the past three years BKPSG have managed to raise over £122,000.00 towards their target of £300,000.00 required to establish a unit. The group were committed to keep fundraising to get to the total when their secretary Shirley McFarlane was unexpectedly contacted by one of the trustees from the Dr J N Marshall (Island of Bute) Memorial Trust. After discussion, the group were overwhelmed when the trust indicated it would provide funds to get it up to its target to establish a local dialysis facility.

Shirley McFarlane, secretary for the Bute Kidney Patients Support Group, said: “It has been a long hard road to get to this stage but the Implementation Group is absolutely delighted to be able to deliver this news.

“It will make a massive difference to the current renal patients as well as to the renal patients of the future.

“A local unit will give patients a much better quality of life and hopefully in the future might also be able to offer holiday dialysis to those coming to the island on a break.

“We are looking forward to the unit being built as soon as possible and hope to give regular updates as the project progresses.”

The first meeting of the Island of Bute Hospital Dialysis Project Implementation Group was held last week where plans from the HSCP’s project architect were presented. No timescale for delivery of this project has yet been confirmed.

Robin Creelman, chairman of Argyll and Bute Integration Joint Board, said: “This is an extremely exciting time for the hospital and Bute. We are acutely aware of the difficulty renal patients have accessing dialysis in Inverclyde, particularly in inclement weather, and it is just wonderful how the local community have supported this cause.

“There is a great deal of work to do but Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership are committed to delivering a safe and sustainable dialysis service and look forward to welcoming the patients back to Rothesay for their dialysis treatments in the future.”

Donald Reid, one of the trustees in the Dr J N Marshall Memorial Trust, said: “Our trust was founded to support the local community, we are pleased and honoured to be able to provide funds which help to move this project from an aspiration to a reality. We admire the sustained courage of the patients on Bute who currently travel three times a week to Greenock for dialysis.

“The prospect of gaining for them such a facility on the island itself is a huge incentive. We salute the commitment of the Support Group over its years of hard work in fund-raising and are very impressed by the enthusiastic espousal of the project by the HSCP and the strongly motivated high calibre personnel it has tasked with bringing to our little island such a valuable asset.”