A new renal dialysis unit in Milton Keynes run by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) has officially opened, providing specialist services for kidney patients closer to home.
The 16-bed facility is based at the Whitehouse Health Centre (pictured), and opened to patients last December, ahead of an official opening 29 January this year. The Whitehouse Dialysis Unit, run by Oxford Kidney Unit, is in addition to the Renal Unit located at Milton Keynes University Hospital. Before the new renal dialysis unit opened, some patients from Milton Keynes had had to travel three times a week to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.
In all, 64 patients can be treated three times a week – equating to 768 treatments every month, or approximately 10,000 fewer long trips to Oxford annually – in the new ward, saving some people approximately nine hours a week travelling from Milton Keynes to Oxford, based on a three-hour roundtrip. The new facility’s opening will – the Trust says – also saves approximately 4,500 kg – or 4.5 tonnes – of carbon each year, supporting its carbon reduction and sustainability plan.
Charlotte Turner, Matron, Renal Medicine, at OUH, said: “The opening of this unit and expansion of renal dialysis services in Milton Keynes will have a really positive impact on our patients, since – instead of needing to travel to Oxford – the travel times are much less. Staff are loving working here so far, in a new, more modern environment, helping us to provide the best possible care to our renal dialysis patients. Improving access to this specialist care, and reducing the travel time for our patients, also helps us reduce our carbon footprint."
Mark Holloway, Chief Estates and Facilities Officer at Oxford University Hospitals, said: “It was a privilege to meet with staff in their new ward, and some of the patients who will benefit from receiving this specialist care closer to home. Our expanded service will be transformative for this patient group.
“We are thankful to our partners at Milton Keynes City Council, which helped fund and establish services at Whitehouse Health Centre, and Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which we work closely with to care for patients with kidney diseases.” Milton Keynes University Hospital staff are also based at Whitehouse Health Centre, providing diagnostic services for patients in the city and surrounding areas.
Dr Ian Reckless, Medical director at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have a strong collaboration with Oxford University Hospitals for the treatment of kidney disease, including renal dialysis, going back over 20 years. The demand for dialysis services has grown over the years, along with our city, and some local residents have had to travel to another unit for dialysis. Renal dialysis can be gruelling, and involves up to three half-day sessions per week. We are delighted that new capacity is being developed to support the MK population at the fabulous Whitehouse Health Centre facility.”
Milton Keynes City Council has provided £1.3 m of upfront funding to complete the initial fit-out for the renal services delivered by OUH, which will repay the council as part of an enhanced rent agreement.
Cllr Pete Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, said: “This new dialysis unit expands the network of specialist local support available to residents. As our city continues to grow, it's critical that we provide the services people need within Milton Keynes, with the city council committed to funding, building, and working with partners to bring forward new facilities to meet increasing demand and change ways of working to improve value for money. I’d like to thank our partners across the NHS who have worked with us to make this happen.”