KIDNEY patients in Exeter are set to benefit from a new £2 million haemodialysis unit.

To meet an expected increase in the number of patients needing this specialist service over coming years, the new unit at Heavitree hospital will have 24 dialysis stations, including six single rooms.

Haemodialysis treatment involves technology to clean the blood of toxins and water which kidneys with acute or chronic disease cannot do naturally.

Creation of the modern purpose-built facility in the former Rougemont Ward at Heavitree will enable the transfer over a period of time of 70 haemodialysis patients across from the outdated accommodation on Sid Ward at the RD&E Wonford.

In total the haemodialysis facilities across both hospital sites will be able to cater for up to 144 patients a year from across Devon.

Building work at Heavitree started last June and is scheduled to be providing haemodialysis services from early 2010.

Acute renal services, for example kidney transplants, will continue to be provided at Exeter Kidney Unit at the RD&E Wonford hospital.

Following on from the successful collaboration between healthcare professionals and a patient representative when the East Devon satellite kidney unit in Honiton was built, the Heavitree project is involving a patient representative.