Satellite renal unit at Welshpool receives funding
Funding for a temporary satellite dialysis unit at a small Powys hospital has been announced.
The unit is a stepping stone towards a permanent service which is expected to open at Welshpool's Victoria Memorial Hospital in 2012.
People with kidney problems in Powys have to travel long distances to Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and Hereford for treatment.
Kidney patient Trudy Hill said the new unit would make life "so much easier".
The Welsh Assembly Government said Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Powys Local Health Board would receive £218,000 to buy the equipment for the satellite service.
Health Minister Edwina Hart said: "The new interim unit will enable patients to benefit from improved services until the permanent facility is built.
"Having this facility in north Powys will greatly improve the care for patients locally and reduce the need to travel which will not only improve their health but also their quality of life.
"Like all renal units it will serve as a base for services such as home therapies and anaemia care as well as training and education for primary care staff to help in the early management of kidney disease.
"I am committed to improving renal services across Wales. The draft budget set aside for renal dialysis expansion this year is £6.9m."
Chairman of Powys Local Health Board Chris Mann said it was a "truly exciting development".
Patient Trudy Hill, who lives near Newtown, has been campaigning for a renal unit for 10 years.
'Quality of life'
She said: "I'm thrilled that finally we have the go ahead for the satellite renal unit at Welshpool.
"It has been a very long time coming - 10 years at least since I got involved.
"It will make life so much easier for dialysis patients in north Powys, by reducing travelling time substantially, and improving the quality of life, and giving extra time to do other things other than travel and dialysis."
Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies, who is patron of the Kidney Wales Foundation, said: "This will improve the quality of life for so many people in mid Wales who currently have to travel long distances for treatment."
Plans for renal units in Welshpool and Llandrindod Wells were announced a year ago.