Relief for patients as renal unit opens in Broadford

Jean MacIntosh from Inverinate is welcomed by Staff Nurse Kay Fletcher, at the new Renal Unit within Broadford Hospital. PHOTO Willie Urquhart/WHFP

A renal dialysis patient from Lochalsh was “absolutely delighted” this week to travel to hospital on Skye for treatment rather than Inverness.

For three years Jean MacIntosh from Inverinate has been driven through to Raigmore Hospital three times a week. But she was able to visit the new dialysis unit at the Mackinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford on Monday.

The facility was finally opened by NHS Highland, following pressure from patients and politicians.

Mrs MacIntosh said: “This will make a huge difference to my life, I’m absolutely delighted. It is just a shame that two others from Lochalsh who went for dialysis didn’t live to see Broadford opening. It was a long struggle, but we are there now.

“I’d like to thank the renal unit in Inverness. All the doctors and staff were pushing for this all the time. One of them said to me on Friday of last week, when I was through, ‘you’ll be very pleased you’ll not be back here on Monday’.”

She also thanked local MSP Kate Forbes for her efforts.

Ms Forbes said: “This is a fantastic day for the many individuals who have had to travel to Raigmore several times a week for years.

“On their behalf, I have been pushing for this for years now and I am so relieved to see it officially open.

“I firmly believe that as many services as possible should be delivered in Skye itself and this is an example of positive change. This has been a very long time coming but it will make a huge difference for those that rely on dialysis.”

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant added: “I’m delighted that a renal dialysis unit has opened this week in Broadford hospital. This is a long time coming and it will save dialysis patients from Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross the sometimes treacherous and exhausting 160-mile round trip to Inverness three times a week.

“I first became involved in this campaign in 2018, after patients from the Lochalsh area contacted me expressing concern that they had to travel for this necessary treatment so regularly. It’s great news and a great relief that this week this new unit has become available and that these patients will be able to receive treatment closer to home.”