Patient's 180-mile trek for treatment

EXCLUSIVEBy James HoreA SERIOUSLY-ill woman who has to travel to another county for life-saving kidney treatment has called for dialysis machines to be installed in hospitals in north Essex.


By James Hore

A SERIOUSLY-ill woman who has to travel to another county for life-saving kidney treatment has called for dialysis machines to be installed in hospitals in north Essex.

Jennifer Goswell, from Great Clacton, suffers from polycystic renal disease on her kidneys which requires haemodialysis sessions, lasting four hours, three times a week.

Mrs Goswell, of North Road, has to make a round trip of about 60 miles to the Ipswich Hospital renal unit for treatment because there are no dialysis beds in the Colchester or Tendring areas.

The former factory worker has called for the introduction of dialysis machines in Colchester to reduce the problems faced by patients who have to travel from the Tendring district for treatment.

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The problem is especially poignant for Mrs Goswell because the hereditary disease also affects three of her five children, although they do not yet require dialysis.

Mrs Goswell said: “We have been told that there would be a Colchester unit in 2001, then in 2003, now we have been told it will be 2005. We don't know what the hold-up is for.

“They need to free-up the space for patients in Ipswich. I am from Essex, but am having to go to Ipswich which is taking up their resources.

“We desperately need more beds, but there is a need for another unit. At the moment there are people from round here having to go for treatment in London. I was lucky really - I just got in at the right time.”

Mrs Goswell was on dialysis for four years and two years on haemodialysis at Ipswich Hospital before switching to peritoneal dialysis, which allowed her to be treated at home.

But since December she has been back at Ipswich Hospital for the haemodialysis.

“We are being kept alive by a machine. You can have the treatment at home, but it is a big responsibility for your partner. There is the danger of blood pressure dropping and your heart stopping,” said Mrs Goswell.

A spokesman for Colchester Primary Care Trust said plans were under way to introduce dialysis machines.

“Colchester Primary Care Trust and Tendring Primary Care Trust have been working together to try to provide kidney dialysis services locally for the people of north-east Essex as there never has been kidney dialysis services at a hospital in that area,” he added.

“Both primary care trusts are committed to providing more services locally and what we will do is provide 20 dialysis units in Colchester for use by people from both Colchester and Tendring within a maximum of two years from the day we are speaking”.

The spokesman said there were two possible sites being considered - one at the proposed Turner Village site or alternatively as an early part of the redevelopment of Colchester General Hospital.

He was supportive of Mrs Goswell's views and said in the “short term” there would be four extra dialysis beds brought into Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and the introduction of dialysis beds at Harwich Hospital.

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