Almost eight out of ten kidney patients across south west London and Surrey support a proposal to improve kidney care by building a new specialist unit at St George’s hospital, according to figures released today.

Instead of continuing to have inpatient kidney care at St Helier and St George’s hospitals, clinicians would like to bring more specialist care together in a single new £80 million unit at the St George’s Hospital site in Tooting.

Over the summer, patients, staff and members of the public were asked to have their say on this proposal. The engagement ran from 27 July to 07 September and included writing directly to over 3,000 kidney patients, speaking to 750 kidney patients in local clinics and units and two public events.

The main findings were:

  • 74% of all respondents and 79% of kidney patients felt the proposals were either good or very good
  • 70% of all respondents felt the proposals would improve care for patients
  • Over half thought the new unit would help attract staff
  • Travel and transport was the main concern raised throughout the engagement, although 70% of those who feel their journeys will be longer still feel the proposal is good.

The new unit would provide care for kidney patients on long-term dialysis who become ill and need to stay in hospital, and for patients who need more complex care such as a kidney transplant or surgery.

The vast majority (95%) of kidney services will remain where they are. There will be no changes to existing dialysis services and the significant majority of clinics in local hospitals, units or at home.

The lead renal clinicians from St George’s and St Helier hospitals, Professor Debasish Banerjee and Dr Ginny Quan said “We are pleased that our kidney patients from both hospitals have responded so positively to our proposal to improve kidney care by investing in a new inpatient renal unit at St George’s. As kidney doctors, we are confident this is the right way forward to improve care and experience for our patients and their families.”

A summary of the engagement and a full independent analysis can be found online

The engagement findings will be shared with decision-making bodies for scrutiny through October and early November to determine if the proposal is to be taken forward to the next stage – which would be a full decision-making business case.