Rotorua dialysis patients, DHB staff and members of Te Whakapono Health Trust gathered at Rotorua Hospital to celebrate 10 years of operation for the Renal Satellite Dialysis Unit.
The unit was formally opened in 2006 and yesterday was the centre of celebration by a crowd of about 40.
Te Whakapono Health Trust was set up originally to fundraise for the unit, and raised $780,000 towards the set up costs.
Diabetes is the most common cause of end stage renal failure in New Zealand. The disease damages the filtering membranes in the kidney directly, as well as damaging blood vessels throughout the body, increasing the risk of high blood pressure which can in itself cause renal failure.
The unit began with five patients but within two months, had opened up six days a week and was dialysing 15 patients. The unit has now increased to treat 12 patients a day. Patients dialyse for up to six hours three times a week.
Today the unit has six registered nurses for haemodialysis and two clinical nurse specialists visiting peritoneal dialysis patients in their homes.
Acting clinical nurse manager Tracy Boyd said all staff were aware of the strong relationship and support the unit had received from Te Whakapono Health Trust.
Most of the patients currently dialysing at the renal unit are from Rotorua, with one travelling from Taupo.
Ms Boyd said the 10-year anniversary was a good time to reflect on the hard work by the community to raise funds for the unit, and to celebrate 10 years of improved access to renal services for people in the Lakes DHB area.
Medicine services manager Jane Chittenden said the Renal Dialysis Satellite Unit operated without the direct support of a specialist medical team and the skill and knowledge of Lakes DHB's renal nurses was to be commended.
"Our renal patients receive a high quality standard of care, and our staff are very committed," she added.
Lakes DHB Chief Executive Ron Dunham said the DHB was the lucky recipient of tremendous fundraising by Te Whakapono Health Trust for more than a decade and would always be grateful for the support.