This evening, BBC2 Alba's excellent Eorpa [Europe] programme started by highlighting the continuing problems surrounding the proposed renal dialysis unit at the Western Isles Hospital here in Stornoway.
Early in December, I reported from two meetings which had been convened after serious concerns had been expressed about service redesign for the Western Isles NHS. One aspect was the renal unit, which had been on the cards for a long time.
Patients whose kidneys do not work properly need to undergo regular dialysis (filtration) of the blood. This is necessary to get rid of the normal breakdown products of the body which the kidneys normally filter out. When they accumulate, the patient will be feeling increasingly unwell and could eventually die if dialysis is not performed. Dialysis patients in the Western Isles fly out to Inverness two or three times a week. If a unit were to be established at Stornoway, this very exhausting journey could be eliminated. An example: a gentleman from Uig, 40 miles outside Stornoway, has to travel twice a week, and is usually away from home for 14 hours, from 10 a.m. till midnight. The journey times for places in other islands may well be longer.
During the meeting early in December 2005, it was announced that the renal unit at WIH would be up and running by April 2006. A specialist nurse had been appointed, and would be in post by February '06. Many were confused to subsequently learn that the implementation of the unit was delayed by another 12 months. Reasons given were that the unit, in physical terms, would not be ready for another year.
In tonight's (26/01/06) Eorpa, the example was quoted of a Glasgow renal unit, which had been established in just 2-3 months, rather than the 4 year long drawn-out affair up in the Western Isles. In terms of a location for the unit, NHS Western Isles has recently closed a ward in the hospital, which could perfectly well be converted into a renal unit. Does not take ages to do so.
Come on, NHS Western Isles, get your skates on and get it going by Easter. ]]>