The Department of Health is pleased to announce that the new Renal Unit at Ramsey District Cottage Hospital opened last Monday, with three patients being the first to undergo dialysis in the new state of the art facility. The development of the Unit – a satellite facility complementing the primary Renal Unit at Noble’s Hospital – saw the construction costs funded from the Government’s Capital Scheme, with the equipment and plant funded from a generous donation by the Scott Trust, supported by the Ramsey Cottage Hospital Welfare Trustees. The opening of the Unit marks the completion of a long term ambition for the Department to develop renal services in the Isle of Man through increasing capacity and versatility for the service and by improving convenience and choice for patients - ultimately enhancing patient safety.
Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK, said:
'The new Renal Unit in Ramsey marks a red letter day for the Island’s Health Service. This is a significant step forward for renal services in the Isle of Man and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Scott Trustees for their generous donation of £250,000.
Whilst the Department is committed to providing first class renal care, Chronic Kidney Disease and in particular Renal Failure are a growing concern, with demand for dialysis increasing year on year. As with so many of the health challenges we face today, lifestyle factors are key. Kidney failure is predominantly caused by high blood pressure and diabetes, and lifestyle choices greatly impact the likelihood of developing kidney problems. Educating and supporting the public in making healthy choices to prevent long term illnesses such as kidney disease remains at the heart of the Department’s strategy.'
The two Renal Units provide Island-wide care for patients with kidney failure. Haemodialysis treatment cleans the blood of toxins and waste products and is necessary for patients to stay alive. Dialysis is needed at least three times a week and involves the patient being connected to a dialysis machine for a minimum of four hours at a time.
Kidney disease is comprised of five stages, each increasingly more serious. Stage five is the most advanced stage of the disease, and it is usually at this point that kidneys become unable to function independently, with dialysis required. Symptoms of kidney problems include:
- an increased need to urinate, particularly at night
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- weight loss and poor appetite
- swollen ankles, feet or hands (due to water retention)
- shortness of breath
- itchy skin
- muscle cramps
- blood or protein in your urine (detected by a urine test)
- erectile dysfunction in men
Tony Jones, General Manager for Primary Care said:
'This is a joint initiative between Noble’s Hospital and Primary Care, progressing the Department’s vision to deliver more services in the community, closer to patients, rather than in an acute setting such as Noble’s Hospital, which isn’t always necessary. Criteria for safe dialysis in a satellite unit have been developed to determine those patients suitable to utilise the facility. On behalf of the Department I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone involved in making this possible.'
The Renal Unit at Noble’s Hospital currently has six stations, serving approximately 24 patients a week. The new Unit at Ramsey also has six stations, increasing capacity to a total of 48 patients a week Island-wide, giving additional capacity to meet future demand as well as providing flexibility for the service. The increased capacity also means that those with kidney failure wishing to visit the Island can do so with the availability of holiday dialysis, which hasn’t been possible unless a local dialysis patient has been off-Island.
Barbara Scott, Noble’s Hospital Manager, said:
'It is testament to the hard work of all the Renal Unit staff, the management teams, our Estates Services colleagues and the generosity of the Scott Trust that this satellite unit, as required by the Island’s Renal Strategy, has now been realised.'
Pamela Makin, Senior Sister for Renal Services said:
'The opening of the new Unit will improve our delivery of vital life sustaining treatment to patients from across the Island. The new state-of-the-art machines provide various different modes of dialysis, which means treatment can be tailored to what the patient needs. One of the treatments available is Haemodiafiltration which improves treatment efficiency and quality of care for our patients.'
The Renal Unit Haemodialysis Service at Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital operates six days a week between 8.00am and 6.00pm.