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Health Minister Visits Guy's and St Thomas'
Ministerial visit to Guy's and St Thomas' Home Dialysis Unit
November 9, 2010
Health Minister Simon Burns visited on 4th November 2010. He gave the opening address at the annual Patient Safety Conference at St Thomas’, followed by a tour of dialysis facilities at Guy’s where he met staff and patients on Astley Cooper dialysis unit.
He met Marion Cox, a 78 year old resident of Bermondsey. Marion has been coming to Guy’s three times a week for five years and talked to Simon about her treatment and the unit. “We’re all great friends here,” she said, “and when you see the same people each time they become almost like your family.”
The Minister was then taken to the Frederick Home Dialysis Unit where patients are taught how to do their own haemodialysis at home. Cormac Breen, consultant nephrologist, explained: “The benefit of dialysing at home is the flexibility it offers. Some patients work full-time and have hobbies like kite surfing or skiing; by allowing them to dialyse at a time that suits them, such as in the evening or overnight, they can lead a relatively normal way of life.”
Two patients who dialyse at home, Andrew Samuel and Peter Hill, told Simon about how they fit dialysis around their other activities. “There must be hundreds of patients, especially youngsters, that could transform their way of life by having a machine at home,” said Peter, “and the training and support we receive makes it so easy.” Andrew, who has been dialysing at home for 16 years said: “I’m able to keep a full-time job, and do all the sport I like such as playing golf. I can lead a normal life with my wife and daughter and not have to keep making trips to a hospital to keep healthy.”
After the morning’s events Simon Burns said: "It was a pleasure to meet the dedicated staff at Guy's Hospital who showed me their dialysis and self-care dialysis units which offer a vital service to patients across London and the south east.
"Facilities like this are helping patients like Andrew and Peter to manage their condition and be more independent. This isn't just more convenient – it can significantly improve quality of life and is cost effective. High quality services such as these will improve outcomes for patients and enable them to lead healthier lives.”