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Right Arrow Building Work Underway on Long Awaited Dialysis Unit for Southport
13 March 2008 at 15:58

Kidney disease patients across West Lancashire and Merseyside will be celebrating this week as building work gets underway on the creation of a new, purpose-built dialysis unit in Southport.

The long-awaited Southport NHS Dialysis Unit is expected to be fully operational early next year and will house 12 dialysis stations, providing services for up to 60 patients, who are currently travelling many miles to access dialysis elsewhere in the region.

Campaigners and fundraisers who have led calls for the new unit will visit the site on Thursday, when they will also be celebrating World Kidney Day.

Colin Jones, Patient Representative on the Local Implementation Group for Southport, and a member of the Southport Kidney Fund, said:

“This is absolutely the best news ever. Southport has been waiting 20 years for this unit. I personally have been on dialysis for 15 years, and have been making the 45-minute journey back and forth to Waterloo. This new unit will be 5 minutes from my front door.”

Dr Leslie Grimshaw, of the Southport Dialysis Unit Fund, said the new unit was a fitting memorial to his late wife June, who died following two years of dialysis at a number of units across the region.

He added: “It was my wife’s one wish, that we would have a unit such as this in Southport. People don’t realise the toll that travelling backwards and forwards for dialysis takes, not just on the patients, but on their families as well. It disrupts people’s lives and coping with the tiredness is so difficult. This unit is the fulfilment of my wife’s dream.”
The Southport site is one of five hospital sites across Cheshire and Merseyside which are part of the Government’s independent sector treatment programme.

Southport is one of two sites to receive new, purpose-built units where no facility currently exists. Other sites will undergo the refurbishment or expansion of existing wards/buildings. The overall scheme will result in an additional 41 dialysis stations for Cheshire and Merseyside.

The need for additional capacity was identified some years ago, following publication of the Department of Health’s National Service Framework for Renal Services. The location of the new units was determined by a piece of work carried out by a sub-group of the Cheshire and Merseyside Renal Strategy Group. The scheme – which will be managed by independent sector provider Fresenius Medical Care Renal Services – will provide state of the art facilities for patients closer to their homes.

Dr Craig Gradden, Clinical Director of Nephrology at Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – the Trust responsible for clinical supervision of the new unit - said:

“While transplantation remains the most effective form of treatment for chronic kidney disease, not every patient is suitable for surgery, and for many, dialysis remains a life-saving treatment, and possibly the only option open to them in terms of managing their condition.

“Southport has long been in need of its own dialysis unit and we are delighted that the infrastructure is now in place at Aintree to support this important development. Patients currently travel to units in Waterloo, Aintree, the Royal Liverpool, and Broadgreen for dialysis and we know that these journeys can be gruelling for people already undergoing lengthy dialysis sessions, three times a week. The additional capacity created in Southport will enable patients to make some choices about their treatments, which they are not currently able to do”

World Kidney Day is an annual awareness-raising event, encouraging people to learn more about chronic kidney disease, a condition which affects more than 3 million people in the UK alone, with numbers rising year on year.

Dennis Crane MBE, Patient and North Regional Advocacy Officer for the National Kidney Federation, said: “I am delighted to see building work underway on this unit and it is extremely fitting that work starts this week, when we are marking World Kidney Day.

“It is important to emphasise that not every person with chronic kidney disease will require renal replacement therapy – the majority of people can be treated within primary care – but for those that do, this new unit will make a huge difference to the quality of their everyday lives.”

Events will be taking place across the North West to mark World Kidney Day. To find out more about the event, please visit

Notes to Editors

Chronic kidney disease affects 5-10% of the general population and its incidence increases with age. Kidney failure can occur for a number of reasons and is associated with diabetes, hypertension, vascular disease and genetic abnormalities. A kidney transplant is the most effective treatment for people with established renal failure, but only 50% of people starting dialysis are suitable for transplant and there is a national shortage of kidneys available for transplantation. For further information about organ donation, please visit

For further information about any of the issues raised in this press release, please contact Jo Stringer, Communications Manager, North West Specialised Commissioning Team, on 01925 406017 or 07824 639605.