Trust slammed over 'unacceptable' plans to move dialysis treatment

What Whipps Cross Hospital could look like. Picture: Barts Health NHS Trust

What Whipps Cross Hospital could look like. Picture: Barts Health NHS Trust - Credit: Archant

Barts Health NHS Trust has been criticised for plans to move dialysis units used by Redbridge residents away from the new Whipps Cross Hospital. 

The trust has not included dialysis treatment units in its plan for the hospital in Leytonstone.

The current site provides dialysis for 288 kidney failure patients in Waltham Forest and Redbridge.  

Barts intends to replace the three outpatient units at Whipps Cross with, it currently estimates, two new units in the community at locations not yet decided. 

Last week (7th July), Redbridge councillors criticised Barts for making the decision without consulting the third of their residents who use the hospital. 

Barts consultant Dr Ravindra Rajakariar told the council’s health scrutiny committee the hospital’s dialysis patients “predominantly come from Waltham Forest” and the plan is to “re-provide for those patients within the borough”. 

He added that the new hospital will only provide emergency dialysis, with in-community dialysis replacing the old units. 

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Committee vice-chair Beverley Brewer said: “This is just totally unacceptable. Patients and their carers need to be at the centre of decisions made about their care.” 

The committee’s Conservative spokesperson, Suzanne Nolan, agreed: “A third of Redbridge uses Whipps Cross, nearly 100,000 patients… we always seem to be losing out.” 

Ceri Jacobs, managing director of Redbridge’s Clinical Commissioning Group, argued the move to in-community treatment was “actually better for patients”. 

She told councillors: “People being able to do dialysis at home is a massive improvement to them in their experience of their lives day to day. 

“This should reduce the need for patients to have to go to hospital. As Covid-19 shows, infection control is important and that’s another reason to keep people in their homes.” 

A report from Barts said the hospital’s current units are “not fit for purpose” and would need “costly refurbishment” within two years if they stayed where they are.  

It added: “Once potential locations are known, wider community engagement will take place and will be used to inform the case for agreeing the future facilities and their locations.” 

Barts plans to create a new dialysis unit at the Mile End Hospital in Tower Hamlets, although Cllr Neil Zammett argued this would be “inaccessible” for Redbridge patients. 

There are no plans to remove dialysis from King George Hospital in Ilford, which is run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. 

The planned relocation of dialysis treatment from the trust’s Queen’s Hospital to St George’s health centre is intended to make way for more emergency care.