A dawn service to mark the official opening of Hawke's Bay DHB's new outpatient clinic space for renal services was held this morning, marking the final stage of a project that started in 2009.
The upgrade of Ballantyne House - Wahanga Whatumanawa took place in four stages over eight years, and aimed to bring all renal services under one roof to improve patient care and outcomes.
Medical directorate medical director and renal physician Colin Hutchison said the DHB looked after about 1000 renal patients a year, including providing pre-dialysis, dialysis, kidney transplants and other kidney disease care.
"This building is about providing a one-stop approach to patient care, bringing doctors, nurses, dieticians and social workers under one roof, so patients can see them in one go rather than having to make multiple visits."
Up until now, the outpatient facility was on the other side of the hospital campus to dialysis, which had created difficulties for patients and staff, he said.
About 80 patients were receiving dialysis at Ballantyne House, and the addition of the outpatient service had improved their access to other renal services.
Dr Hutchison said this included clinic rooms for training people on how to administer dialysis from home, offices for social workers, counsellors and doctors, and an office for the kidney transplant team.
The modern space also included a family room where doctors could talk to family members about patient needs and care in a private, pleasant surroundings.
Kidney disease, at the point where people needed dialysis and possibly a transplant, was worse than having almost every sort of cancer, Dr Hutchison said.
"When people are on dialysis, their body is ageing rapidly - a person aged 40 is looking at a lifespan equivalent to an 80-year-old.
"A transplant is the best option but the waiting list is three to five years."
In the meantime, he said the best option for people on dialysis was to train them to administer it at home, for convenience and to allow them to live as normal a life as possible.
The completion of this facility would greatly enhance providing such training, as well as providing ease of access to all associated medical services needed.
Medical directorate service director Paula Jones had been involved in the project since its inception, and said it was exciting to finally have it completed.
"This will allow us to provide more co-ordinated care and efficient service delivery so people with kidney disease will be picked up earlier, and the pre-dialysis care will be improved."
The final phase of the project, which began in November last year, had cost $2.3 million.
The outpatient clinics in the new location would be up and running on Tuesday next week.
Wahanga Whatumanawa refers to the group's four cornerstones of health practice - physical, psychological, spiritual and family wellbeing.