Patients, staff and members of the public are invited to have their say on an exciting new proposal to improve kidney care in the area, including plans to build a new £80 million specialist unit.
The local NHS will be asking for feedback through an online questionnaire, community outreach, two virtual public events and social media. More information is available on a new website https://swlondonccg.nhs.uk/renal/ which launches today (Tuesday 27 July).
Instead of continuing to have inpatient kidney care at two hospitals, clinicians would like to bring more specialist care together in a single new £80 million unit at the St George’s Hospital site in Tooting.
The new unit would provide care for kidney patients on long-term dialysis who become ill and need to stay in hospital, and for patients who need more complex care such as a kidney transplant or surgery.
The vast majority (95%) of kidney services will remain where they are. There will be no changes to existing dialysis services and the significant majority of clinics in local hospitals, units or at home.
Dr Fiona Harris, Consultant Nephrologist and Joint Clinical Director of Renal Services at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are absolutely committed to providing our kidney patients with the very best care, treatment and support. Our proposal will create a brand new unit, with all the expert staff on hand 24/7, providing specialist care to our sickest patients.
“The proposal will also allow us to strengthen our kidney services in our local hospitals, clinics and at home, which is where our patients get the majority of their care.”
Professor Debasish Banerjee, Consultant Nephrologist and Professor of Clinical Practice for Renal Medicine at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The proposed new unit is a great example of the power of joining up NHS expertise in the interests of our patients. Having this level of support in one place will reduce waiting time for accessing specialist support. This not only is better clinically, it reduces stress for patients and their families. The new unit will also help us attract and keep the experts we need, and connect patients with the latest kidney research and treatment.”
The kidney clinicians put forward this new proposal in 2020 when the NHS approved plans to build a new Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Sutton. This means from 2026, all kidney inpatient care will move from St Helier to this new hospital. While this will improve care for kidney patients, leading kidney clinicians say their proposal will make care even better.
A bit of background
St George’s is well established as a leading centre for kidney transplantation and treatment of kidney failure. It is the kidney transplantation centre for patients from St Helier and for the rest of South West London, Surrey and Sussex. St Helier is one of the largest renal services in the country and is also accredited in interventional nephrology (where kidney specialist perform medical procedures under local anaesthetic).
Instead of going to the new Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Sutton in the future, kidney patients needing specialist inpatient (overnight) care would go to a new kidney unit at the St George’s Hospital site in Tooting for treatment such as transplants, kidney and vascular access surgery or to treat acute kidney injury.
A small number of outpatient appointments would also move to the new unit at St George’s. This would mean patients who need support and advice for complex issues, such as rare genetic or autoimmune kidney disorders, for example, would go to St George’s.
Some outpatient appointments would also move to St Helier, like training for home dialysis.
All other kidney services will remain as they are. This will mean that 95 percent of a kidney patient’s contact with kidney services will stay the same.
The £80m funding for the new kidney unit has been agreed by the NHS, subject to engagement with our local patients and members of the public.
The proposals also take into account the impact of COVID-19. This is very important as kidney patients are considered vulnerable patients. The new unit would be designed to provide safer services in any future pandemic. Infection control and social distancing are easier to implement in new buildings.
People can have their say by visiting www.swlondonccg.nhs.uk/renal; writing for free at FREEPOST improvingkidneycare; emailing at SWLrenal@swlondon.nhs.uk or; calling 020 3574 8659.