Stonehaven’s new renal dialysis unit has been officially unveiled.
The £1.5 million facility at Kincardine Community Hospital, largely funded by the local community, was opened last Thursday.
The ceremony was performed by Dr Neil Edward, one of the pioneers of renal dialysis at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
The satellite unit offers dialysis for up to six patients, mornings and afternoons, three days a week.
It means patients across Kincardine and the Mearns do not have to travel into Aberdeen for the treatment, typically required three times a week.
Dr Edward said: “Through my career I saw the steady development of dialysis but despite major improvements in the procedure and the associated technology is still a daunting type of treatment.
“Being able to undergo dialysis as close to home as possible is always best for the patient. I am honoured to be asked to formally open this unit and celebrate the achievements of the many community fundraisers.”
A huge fundraising effort by people and businesses in and around Stonehaven raised in excess of £1 million in five years to get the project under way.
Dr Ann Humphrey, associate specialist in the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary dialysis unit and lead fundraiser for the campaign, said: “The outstanding fundraising effort saw a groundswell of goodwill from our local community, and indeed all over the Grampian region, to make this unit a reality.
“I do not think there is a group in the local area who has not been involved in contributing to this campaign.”
Pivotal to the fundraising was the Rotary Club of Stonehaven.
Past president Billy Hunter said the club had been proud to play a leading role in the fund-raising process and added: “This was not solely a Rotary project.
“Businesses, schools, community groups and individuals all played their part.
“The scale of the support from the local community was really quite humbling. To see the unit up and running and making a difference to patients is fantastic.”
Representatives of the various donors and community fundraisers were invited to a celebration tea party at Kincardine Community Hospital, along with members of staff and the project team who delivered the facility.
In 2010, the NHS Grampian Renal Unit was left a legacy of £250,000 for dialysis machines.
After discussion, it was felt that this was best identified as a capital fund towards a satellite renal unit in South Aberdeenshire as this was the one area within Aberdeenshire not served by such a facility.
The unit covers a large area – from as far south as St Cyrus, over to Luthermuir and up to Fettercairn, Banchory and across to Portlethen.