§ Mr. Hume
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement detailing the current level of dialysis provision in Northern Ireland, the numbers on the waiting list for dialysis provision and what proposals he is making to improve the provision of and access to dialysis for kidney patients in all parts of Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
The renal unit at the Belfast city hospital can provide dialysis treatment for up to 42 patients and this will shortly be increased by 12 as a result of proposals drawn up by the Eastern health and social services board. This dialysis provision is supported by a relatively high transplant programme which subject to the availability of donor kidneys, can cope with up to 48 transplants per year. At present 30 patients are on the waiting list for dialysis treatment and 40 are waiting for transplants. The Department of Health and Social Services in consultation with the health and social services boards is also considering the further development of services for kidney patients including the feasibility of providing dialysis units outside Belfast.