HC Deb 06 July 2004 vol 423 cc671-2
3. Mr. Peter Pike (Burnley) (Lab)

What facilities are available for renal patients on dialysis for treatment while they are away from home on business or on holiday. [182183]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Ms Rosie Winterton)

A £60 million capital investment programme to expand renal services began four years ago. There are now at least 700 extra dialysis stations and 28 more dialysis units, which will make it easier for renal patients to take holidays and travel on business.

Mr. Pike

I know that tremendous advances have been made in Preston and Burnley in the north-west, but does my hon. Friend accept that the scheme needs to be improved so that people can arrange to go away in the knowledge that they can get a dialysis slot wherever they go? They should not have to be confined to taking holidays in this country. In this day and age, should we not be doing something to enable people to have dialysis abroad?

Ms Winterton

There are a number of arrangements that enable people to travel abroad—mainly within the European Union, but we have reciprocal arrangements with other countries such as Australia. We made it clear in the national service framework for renal services, published in January, that it is important for patients to be able to dialyse away from home, whether they are on holiday or on business. A group of renal commissioners, chaired by Robert Dunn of the National Kidney Federation, is considering how we can support the implementation of the framework and guidance.