Heath Lane Surgery is very pleased to announce the official launch of our Haemodialysis Unit taking place on 11th May 2017 following a successful pilot scheme.
We are amongst only a very few UK GP practices offering this facility.
The unit is an illustration of innovative and collaborative working between the practice, secondary care (the Renal Unit at Leicester General Hospital), the Patient Participation Group and the West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. The pilot was started in response to the growing incidence of renal disease nationally and also recognising a need for more locally based facilities rather than patients having to spend many hours travelling to and from hospital based renal units. The aim of the practice based unit is to provide a “home from home” facility for patients who potentially could dialyse at home but are unable to do so due to factors such as lack of space, living on their own or being less confident with “needling”. The unit provides a model for the next level of care upward i.e. the possibility of small localised units which would be overseen by nurses.
Ann Walsh, Business/Practice Manager said “We are excited to be involved in this first pilot scheme with colleagues from the Leicestershire Renal Unit, hosting a patient undergoing dialysis. The dialysis facility within our GP practice allows the patient to receive safe, convenient care much closer to their home without the trouble of having to travel to and from the Renal Unit three times a week. We are hoping to welcome a second patient to our unit in the coming months. This is a model that could be rolled out to other GP practices to bring life changing benefits to many more patients’ lives”.
The Unit has been functioning within the practice since June 2016 as part of a pilot scheme headed by Dr. James Burton, Consultant Nephrologist at Leicester General Hospital and Dr. Will Priestman, GP Partner at Heath Lane Surgery. Dr. Burton commented “Within the Leicester Renal Network we have over 1,000 patients on regular dialysis and although it is life sustaining the treatment itself can be both inflexible and inconvenient. Feedback from patients, both locally and nationally, highlights the impact that travelling and waiting times has on patients’ quality of life. Although it is possible to have dialysis at home, for many patients this is just not an option and so, this new minimal care community dialysis project has brought dialysis out of hospital and closer to home. Despite all the current pressures on the NHS it is great to know that motivated staff and patients are still able to find innovative ways to transform the way we deliver healthcare between primary and secondary care. We hope that this achievement will demonstrate to other dialysis services and GP practices that this model can be a real success”.
As part of the pilot scheme, one patient, Carl Bicknell, has been dialysing 3 times per week at the practice. Carl said “When I started dialysing I had to travel to Loughborough 3 times a week, sometimes in the evening which meant I did not get home until midnight. As I am a single dad this greatly impacted on my daughter as she had to stay at her grandparents 3 nights a week. I jumped at the chance of having dialysis at the surgery as its only 10 minutes from home and I can dialyse when my daughter is at school. This has made such a big improvement to the quality of my life and my daughter’s”.
A lot of thought went into the provision of the facility prior to finalising and putting the plan in motion. Lorna Robinson, who is a staff member at the practice and having previously undergone haemodialysis prior to receiving a transplant, advised on many of the practical issues of setting up this “home from home” unit. The practice received a generous donation which was used towards furnishing the unit with “home comforts” as well as purchasing plants for a lovely garden which was created and planted by Earl Shilton in Bloom. Carl said “The room that Heath Lane Surgery has provided for me to dialyse in is incredible with a beautifully maintained garden with lots of wildlife and a massive television and the staff at the practice have been so warm and friendly”.
Heath Lane Surgery is very pleased to have been part of establishing this pioneering scheme in Leicestershire and very much look forward to being able to share their experiences to enable other GP practices to consider developing and offering a similar facility within their locality.