NHS Wales News - Health Minister visits new dialysis unit in Pembrokeshire
News: Health Minister visits new dialysis unit in Pembrokeshire
5 March 2009, Welsh Assembly Government
The Health Minister, Edwina Hart, will today [Thursday, 5 March] visit a new renal dialysis unit at Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest, to meet patients and staff benefiting from the new facilities locally.
Previously dialysis patients would have had to undertake regular and often lengthy journeys out of county to Carmarthen for treatment. Patients now have the opportunity to undergo treatment locally at the new unit although some will continue to have their renal dialysis in Carmarthen.
The unit opened in December 2008 with the ability to treat 12 patients but further stations have now opened to accommodate 24 patients. The provision of the temporary unit is part of a phased development that will see a permanent dialysis unit open on the Withybush Hospital site by March 2011.
South Gwynedd has also been identified as an area in need of a new unit and building work should commence next year. Last year, the Minister opened the new unit at West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen as well as the new kidney dialysis unit in Cardiff.
Coupled with the investment in dialysis, the Welsh Assembly Government has part funded the Kidney Wales Foundation-led Donate Wales: Tell a Loved One campaign, which aims to encourage people to become donors. Linked to that a £4.2m Assembly Government-funded transplant unit at the University of Wales Hospital is due to open early next year.
Mrs Hart said: "The new interim unit enables patients to benefit from improved services until the permanent facility is built.
"Having this facility in Pembrokeshire will greatly improve the care for patients locally and reduce the need to travel which will not only improve their health but also their quality of life."
"I am committed to improving renal services across Wales. The draft budget set aside for renal dialysis expansion this year is £6.8m.
"However, for many patients receiving dialysis the best option would be a transplant so we will continue to support the Kidney Foundation Wales-led Donate Wales Tell a Loved One campaign which raises awareness of the importance of signing up to the organ donation register. The campaign also emphasises the need for people to discuss their wishes with friends and family."
Hywel Dda NHS Trust's Chairman Chris Martin said: "We are delighted that plans for a permanent dialysis unit for Pembrokeshire patients are progressing and that in the meantime, patients can be treated in the temporary unit."
Roy J. Thomas, Chairman of the Kidney Wales Foundation and Donate Wales campaign, said: "We are fully committed along with the Welsh Assembly Government, to world class renal facilities across Wales. Transplant and dialysis treatments in Wales are improving under this government and we are working in partnership to ensure this continues and that more kidney patients and their families in Wales benefit."