A COUPLE are calling upon health chiefs to make dialysis available at Leek Moorlands Hospital.
Doris Hughes, aged 85, started having dialysis treatment around a month ago.
Doris and her husband Don, who live in Princess Avenue, Leek, travel three times a week, to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Hartshill for Doris to have the treatment, which takes three hours each time.
This is despite a recent upgrade to the hospital in Leek.
Retired retail assistant Don, who is eventually going to be trained how to use a dialysis machine at home, said: "They should have a dialysis machine in Leek.
"We haven't been home before 10pm on a number of occasions and it was 11pm one night.
"Doris can be waiting for up to 20 minutes to be put on a machine. And then after three hours on a machine, she can be waiting up to a further 25 minutes for the ambulance to take us back home.
"We are so fed up with the times of the ambulance that I have decided to drive Doris to the hospital myself - but it is still around rush hour time.
"Apparently they have 50 machines at North Staffs Hospital.
"If they are going to train me how to use a dialysis machine, surely they can train up a nurse at Leek Moorlands Hospital? When I am trained up, they are going to give us a machine to use at home.
"But what is the point of having a machine in one house being used just three times a week by one person, when it could be at Leek Moorlands Hospital being used a lot more by more people?
"There must be around 20 to 30 people in Leek having dialysis."
Don explained that Doris began having health problems five years ago and it was three months ago that doctors said she would need to have dialysis treatment.
Don said: "She isn't going on the transplant list as she is too old. So she will need dialysis for the rest of her life.
"But this treatment really does need to be available locally.
"I don't want Doris travelling up and down to North Staffordshire all the time.
"I have been trying to get hold of somebody about this but I keep on getting pushed to someone else. I have even been up to Leek Moorlands Hospital about it."
The couple, who have been married for 65 years, have lived in Leek all their lives.
Doris said: "I do get tired but the treatment is working.
"I think they should have a dialysis machine at Leek Hospital. I'm not just saying this for me but others who live in Leek who are having the same treatment."
A spokesperson for the North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (NSCCG), which is made up of GPs and has responsibility for delivering healthcare in the area, said: "North Staffordshire CCG's priority is to provide services as locally as possible and to commission safe, effective and high quality sustainable services. We have to do this within our available resources and we will treat any request on that basis."
Vanessa Gardener, chief operating officer for University Hospital of North Staffordshire, said: "The trust is always open to providing new services where there is sufficient demand.
"We already operate satellite dialysis services at Stafford Hospital and Leighton Hospital, in addition to the service here at the Haemodialysis Unit in Stoke, which is part of our £12 million Kidney Unit.
"In addition, this unit has four training stations, where patients can learn to use dialyse themselves so that they can receive dialysis at home.
"Our clinicians will work with Mrs Hughes to ensure she receives the right care in the right environment for her needs.
"The staff working within the Haemodialysis Service are very proud of the care they provide."