In 2010 the NHS Grampian Renal Unit were left a legacy of £250,000 for dialysis machines. After discussion, it was felt that this was best identified as a capital fund towards a satellite renal unit in South Aberdeenshire as this is the one area within Aberdeenshire that as yet is not served by a Renal Dialysis satellite unit. The new unit would cover a large area – from as far south as St Cyrus, across to Luthermuir and up to Fettercairn, Banchory and across to Portlethen.

Figures for 2013 show at least 13 patients from the south travelling to Aberdeen for dialysis with a further 8 from the Lower Marr Area, and there are approximately 30 patients from South Aberdeenshire attending the low clearance clinic who are likely to require renal replacement therapy in the future.

A meeting was held on May 28th to discuss the way forward for a Renal Dialysis Unit in South Aberdeenshire. The meeting was open to local people, fundraisers, carers and NHS Grampian staff, and was an opportunity to look at the various options being considered.

The estimated cost of start up including equipment for a 6 bed unit is estimated at around £700,000 – £800,000, with £500,000 being the building costs. Most of the existing units in Grampian have been started off with public subscription fundraising for the building works with equipment and running costs being met by NHS Grampian.

A Project Team has been established to take forward the planning for the unit and will be responsible for completing the required actions and the development of a business case. This process includes work to identify how best to provide the services required and to set out how this will be achieved.

The first stage of the process was to narrow down the long list of potential options. At the meeting on 28 May all in attendance agreed that the unit should be based at KCH in Stonehaven. This left three options, with three different potential locations on the site. Further work will be done by the Project Team over the summer to determine which of these options should be taken forward as the preferred option.

Dr Anne Humphrey from the Dialysis Unit has been leading the fundraising effort and, so far, almost £440,000 has been raised – there is still some way to go to meet the target. Timing is critical. NHS Grampian have still to formally approve the project (although support has been given to move on to developing a business case), and the next stage in the process is planned for November 2014. By this time there needs to be some certainty that the £500,000 target for the building costs has been raised. Following submission and approval of the business case for the project, work can then begin in conjunction with appointed contractors to plan the detail of the new unit.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the urgency in pushing on with fundraising to meet this target. It is clear from all of the reports we see in the local press that many organisations are working hard to raise money and we need to be sure that everyone in the target catchment area is aware of the plans for the unit. We would ask anyone, especially those in the wider catchment area who may not have been aware of the plans, to consider what they can do to help. The number of patients requiring Dialysis is increasing yearly and this new unit will not only reduce the load on Aberdeen, but also make it much easier for local people to attend and park without the long journey, traffic delays and parking issues at ARI.

If anyone is interested in organising an event to support this very worthwhile cause please let us know. For further information contact Peter Newell on 07837009551 or e mail peter.newell4491@gmail.com.

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