Kidney dialysis could become more accessible to patients in north Northumberland, after 2000 people signed a petition for treatment closer to home.
Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith has been pressing for progress on making kidney dialysis more readily available, to alleviate the “considerable strain” put on patients from Berwick, who currently have to travel to Tyneside hospitals for dialysis treatment - a journey of over 60 miles each way - up to three times per week.
At a meeting with NHS England earlier this week, Sir Alan asked what steps were being taken to make sure patients could receive treatment without having to travel in to central Newcastle.
He said: “I have made the case that for dialysis patients, three trips to Tyneside each week is a considerable strain and anything which can be done to lessen the time they spend travelling to and from treatments will improve the quality of life for these patients.”
Sir Alan insisted that he would continue to have regular discussions with the NHS, and “keep up the fight” on behalf of these patients.
John Lawlor, director for the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area team of NHS England, said: “Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is currently inviting bids to see if a more local dialysis service can be provided near the Alnwick area.
“NHS England is also working closely with Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to ensure local people in the north of Northumberland are kept informed of the progress, especially those who are currently travelling to Newcastle for their treatment.”
He added: “I am pleased that bids to provide a service closer to Berwick have been invited and that work is continuing to make sure that a satellite service from the current Newcastle Hospitals arrangement is being explored.”