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Long-awaited Blackburn kidney unit set for approval by councillors

PLANS for a purpose-built kidney dialysis unit at the Royal Blackburn Hospital to replace a cabin are being backed for the go-ahead.

It is part of a revamped provision across East Lancashire for patients suffering renal failure.

The long-awaited new ward at the Royal Blackburn, first promised for 2013, is scheduled to open February next year if approved.

Another specialist renal unit is expected to open at Briercliffe Shopping Centre in Burnley in September 2021.

Now provider Diaverum Facilities Management Ltd’s planning application for the single-storey Blackburn unit on land adjacent to the hospital in Old Bank Lane is to be debated by councillors on Thursday.

It will have 24 dialysis stations, with 18 parking spaces.

An officer’s report to Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning committee recommends approval with 14 conditions.

It says: “Assessment of the application finds that the proposal will deliver a high quality, specialist health care facility that will provide essential life-saving care for patients with chronic kidney disease, closer to their homes.

“This application is effectively a resubmission of a previously permitted scheme.

“The previous scheme, approved on April 25 2017, not implemented within three years and so has expired.

“The applicants assert their intention to commence work as soon as possible, given the pressing local need.

“The purpose is to provide a permanent renal unit to replace a temporary prefabricated unit located near the site within the grounds of Royal Blackburn Hospital.

“There is a comprehensive service for end stage renal failure, which is currently provided within the temporary unit which is now not suitable for use for patients, is too small and with no scope for expansion.

“Satellite renal units of this nature are aimed at providing essential life-saving care closer to patients’ homes, which is vital given how frequently they need treatment and how long it lasts on each visit.

“Consequently providing such specialist units in suitable locations results in significant reductions in travel time which therefore enhances the patients’ quality of life.”

Dialysis removes waste products and extra fluid from the blood and is given to patients whose kidneys have stopped working properly.