Renal unit given a new lease of life thanks to local community

Posted on in Fundraising, Services

Renal patients Neal Waters and Sarah Eales

Renal patients Neal Waters and Sarah Eales

The James Cook University Hospital’s aging renal day unit has been transformed into a modern, purpose-built centre just 11 months after a major fundraising appeal was launched.

Staff and patients at the Middlesbrough hospital announced ambitious plans to raise £500,000 with the support of Our Hospitals Charity back in November 2020 to help develop a first class facility to deliver kidney care.

Despite challenging times with COVID-19, their fundraising goal was exceeded and the old unit has now been replaced with a fresh, fit for purpose area where patients’ needs can be met in one place.

Patients previously attending the unit will have been all too familiar with the unit’s dark and outdated layout.

But, those attending from now on will be greeted in a large welcoming waiting area and will have access to treatment rooms as well as a home dialysis training room.

Dr David Reaich, consultant nephrologist, said the new unit surpassed his expectations.

“The old facilities were aging and were getting really cramped meaning we couldn’t do some of the stuff we wanted to do,” he said.

“Thanks to the help of our patients, staff, Our Hospitals Charity and a number of local businesses, including Drive Motor Retail, we now have excellent facilities that will enable us to help the increasing amount of patients we’re seeing.”

 Dr David Reaich,, consultant nephrologist, Service manager Cheryl Burton and Clare Allinson lead nurse for renal services

Dr David Reaich, consultant nephrologist, Service manager Cheryl Burton and Clare Allinson lead nurse for renal services

The unit was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by patients Neal Waters and Sarah Eales.

Neal, from Little Ayton, regularly attended the renal day unit for check-ups and home dialysis training following his stage five kidney failure in 2010 before having a kidney transplant from his wife earlier this year.

He said: “It’s wonderful to see the new unit; the end result has been well worthwhile. It’s bright, airy and will make such a difference for the patients because the last thing you want whether you’re in the check-up room or in the waiting room is to be sat in a dark and gloomy environment.

“All the renal staff are extremely positive so they now have the facilities to back them up, it’s brilliant.”

Sarah added: “It’s going to make a huge difference for the patients, especially now there are more treatments and treatment rooms available in the day unit. When you’re doing dialysis in the unit you do make relationships and bonds with the staff and they do kind of become your family because you’re here a lot so if more treatment and treatment rooms are here then you’re going to be seeing the same staff and feel more comfortable.”

During the opening service manager Cheryl Burton thanked those who made the refurbishment possible.

“It feels fabulous for all the team, patients and families to officially open the new unit,” she said.

“It’s been a long journey and despite it being a challenging time for everyone the charitable funds team have been brilliant and we’ve managed to raise an incredible £540,000. We’re all extremely grateful to all our patients, staff and the community for helping us achieve this refurbishment.”