Health minister accepts bumper kidney appeal cheque

PLANS for an expanded kidney dialysis unit at the Borders General Hospital, obviating the need for local sufferers to travel to Edinburgh for treatment, took a major and symbolic step forward last week when Scottish health minister Nicola Sturgeon accepted a mammoth cheque for £200,000.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 26th October 2010, 9:22 am

Ms Sturgeon was visiting the temporary renal ward which has been provided while preparatory work on the 12-station state-of-the-art unit, agreed by NHS Borders in its capital programme last summer and due for completion next April, is under way.

The cheque was presented to the cabinet secretary and NHS Borders chairwoman Mary Wilson by James Marjoribanks, a former dialysis patient who is fundraising chairman of The Difference: the Kidney Dialysis Appeal which was launched in the Borders last year to provide additional equipment and resources to patients.

Ms Sturgeon heard many dialysis patients and their families, along with clinical staff, had fundraised for the appeal which has far surpassed its original £120,000 target.

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Donations have also been received from local businesses, community groups, individuals and charitable organisations.

“We are amazed so many have chosen to support our appeal just 18 months after it was launched with numerous people giving up their time to undertake fundraising and I’m naturally delighted to hand over this initial cheque,” said Mr Marjoribanks.

“Our appeal goes on, however, and more funds, including a substantial amount from our friends in the Rotary clubs of the Borders, will follow later in the year.”

He said everything raised by the appeal would provide additional resources for staff and patients to improve the treatment environment.

“Haemodialysis is a lengthy treatment patients must endure three times a week for an average of four hours at a time so we will do anything we can to make that time pass more quickly,” added Mr Marjoribanks.

During her visit, Ms Sturgeon chatted with patients, including Stefan Grzybowski who has been getting dialysis at the BGH for more than two years, and Jean Roy who started dialysis in Edinburgh in March and moved to the BGH at the end of last month.

They are just two of the 36 patients currently receiving dialysis at the hospital and work is under way to look at repatriating the other 18 patients receiving treatment in Lothians hospitals back to the Borders by the end of this month.

Ms Sturgeon told us: “I was delighted to accept, on behalf of NHS Borders, the cheque to pay for things which will improve the quality of life of dialysis patients. Anything that makes the treatment process less arduous – perhaps televisions and radios – is very welcome.

“I hear that the new unit will allow patients who currently travel to Edinburgh to receive their treatment much closer to home. This will make a huge difference to their quality of life.”