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Retired nurse ‘glad to hear’ NHS Grampian is working to reimburse energy costs of home dialysis patients

George Cook at his home in Aberlour.
George Cook at his home in Aberlour.

A Moray man has spoken of his relief after it emerged home dialysis patients could soon be reimbursed for paying higher electricity bills.

Retired nurse George Cook has been using the treatment at home in Aberlour to keep himself alive for the last year.

The 63-year-old needs to use the equipment three times a week, for four hours each time, after suffering complete renal failure.

The water purification tech it requires also needs to be running 24 hours a day.

Around 2,000 Scots patients are on dialysis for kidney failure, but George is one of just 55 who have the equipment at home.

It’s thought these patients are having to pay hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds in extra electricity charges each year to manage their conditions.

The NHS is looking into costs for patients

Earlier this month George hit out at the system in place, saying his disposable income was “shrinking away” because of the problem.

He said: “I feel that I am a victim of healthcare inequality – I should not be financially penalised for being sick.”

George Cook pictured at home is on home dialysis and is calling for patients like him to get funding support.
George Cook pictured at home is on home dialysis and is calling for patients like him to get funding support. Pictures by Jason Hedges

However, the P&J and Evening Express understand there are now ongoing discussions across NHS Scotland’s renal technical managers into energy costs and how this impacts patients.

‘I’m getting hammered with it really’

Plans to mitigate and deal with the costs of escalating energy prices for home dialysis patients are being looked at nationally and locally within the NHS.

George said: “I’m glad to hear that they’re considering that.

“When the next round (of energy bills) come in October, that’s going to be another substantial increase.

“Another thing that worries me is the fact that I’m on a fixed income and inflation is going to be running about 10%.

“I’m just getting hammered with it really.”

Home dialysis patients: ‘I worry for others’

Last year the Kidney Care UK charity estimated some home dialysis patients have been paying as much as £1,400 extra each year to cover the extra utility costs associated with home dialysis.

And this was before the recent price hike, which has left George extremely concerned.

“I’m not the only home dialysis patient in Grampian and I worry for the others,” he said.

An NHS Grampian spokesman said: “We are in the process of creating a strategy within the renal service to address the issue on reimbursement of energy costs for renal home therapy patients.”

George Cook and his home kidney dialysis equipment.
George Cook and his home kidney dialysis equipment. Picture by Jason Hedges

Fiona Loud, policy director at Kidney Care UK said the charity was delighted to hear the plight of patients had prompted action from health boards.

“We would like to see as many hospitals as possible taking this approach, publishing their plans, and doing so as soon as possible because many people simply can’t afford to wait any longer,” she said.

“We’d be happy to work with NHS Grampian on their strategy to help ensure every single home dialysis patient they support receives suitable reimbursement for their life saving medical treatment.”


Read more:

‘We will always be grateful to the wonderful staff ‘: NHS staff hailed for carrying out Elgin youngster’s renal transplant surgery

Renal unit opens on Skye as ‘intolerable’ trips to Inverness are brought to an end

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