The renal dialysis unit at the Banbury hospital has been unavailable since January 2, as its six beds are needed at A&E to cope with the high number of inpatients and ‘bed-blocking’.
Dialysis patients from north Oxfordshire have had their treatment temporarily relocated to Oxford or other areas but they can now return to Banbury as the former F Ward at the Horton has been transformed into a temporary dialysis unit.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the body responsible for the Horton, said the estates team has been busy ensuring facilities and machinery are in place at the temporary unit, and patients have been informed they will be able to return to the Horton for their dialysis.
Matron and clinical lead for renal medicine Allie Thornley said: “It will be welcome news for our patients, who will once again have the convenience of dialysis closer to home.
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“I would like to thank the estates team at the Horton for their help and am grateful for the flexibility of the dialysis nurses from both Oxford and the network units, many of whom have contributed by working additional shifts or travelling to other units – without them this could not have happened.”
A trust spokesman said a decision would be made this week about whether the normal dialysis unit will reopen on January 26, as previously stated.
Campaign group Keep the Horton General questioned why F ward was not used by A&E instead of the dialysis ward, forcing patients to travel to the John Radcliffe Hospital.
Retired consultant physician and group member Peter Fisher said: “It is good news that local patients can again have their dialysis at the Horton but I think they need to have some explanation as to why they have had to go to Oxford or elsewhere for it since the beginning of the year.
“Would it not have been more logical, simpler and probably less expensive to open the additional beds in F ward to cope with the winter pressure and leave the dialysis unit where it was?
“The F ward beds were part of the 45 declared permanently closed last August, on the grounds that they were no longer needed, clearly a premature decision as was pointed out at the time.”
The trust spokesman said the dialysis ward was taken over by A&E because it is adjacent to the emergency department.