Options being explored for new and improved local renal services.
PLANS to build a new kidney dialysis unit in North Devon have been revealed by healthcare bosses.
The current unit in South Molton, which has nine dialysis stations and sees around 50 patients, is deemed too small to meet growing demand for the service.
Some equipment at the unit is also in need of modernisation.
The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E) said it was working with local patients to plan new and improved renal services in North Devon, with a planned delivery date of 18-24 months.
A number of locations for the new unit are being looked at, including in Barnstaple, but the expanded service is expected to have up to 16 dialysis stations.
The Trust said feedback from patients who currently use the service would be a key factor in deciding where the new unit should be.
Dr Richard D’Souza, clinical lead for the Exeter-based service, said: “The staff in South Molton work very hard to provide an excellent service for patients, but the unit is now too small for the demands placed on it, and it is unable to easily provide the latest modern treatments for patients, who may have to travel to Exeter instead.
“By providing a new service, with up to 16 stations, patients from North Devon will be able to receive their care as close to home as possible in a modern up-to-date facility.
“We have begun talking with staff, patients and local organisations about this development and we hope that it will be a really positive improvement for patients from the North Devon area.”
Peter Shearman, chairman of the Exeter and District Kidney Patients Association, said: “We want to make sure the views of North Devon patients are at the heart of this new development.
“A new modern service will be good for patients and improve the experience of dialysis care.”
Patient focus groups are being planned for June and July.