Equity of access to dialysis facilities in Wales

QJM. 2006 Jul;99(7):445-52. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcl054. Epub 2006 May 8.


Background: Demand for dialysis, particularly, in-centre haemodialysis (HD), is growing, and more units will be needed. Travel time to treatment is consistently a major area of concern for patients.

Aim: To analyse access to current dialysis facilities in Wales, and use the data to help plan for new dialysis units.

Methods: We analysed a combination of UK Renal Registry, Welsh population census data, the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2005 (WIMD), travel time and geographical information systems.

Results: Prevalence of HD fell significantly with increasing travel time from units. This was not influenced by the WIMD. Prior to the opening of a new HD unit in Aberystwyth, prevalence in the surrounding area was significantly lower than for Wales as whole, but within 2 years, prevalence had risen to approximate national levels. In Haverfordwest, an area >30 min drive from any current facility, prevalence is consistently and significantly lower than for Wales as a whole, and has not shown the growth seen elsewhere in the country.

Discussion: The ability to combine data has enabled modelling of the likely immediate impact of opening a new unit in Haverfordwest, and also provided an estimate of its required capacity. This multidisciplinary approach to demand analysis should help to highlight areas of under-provision, and facilitate the planning of the sites and sizes of new dialysis units in Wales.

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hemodialysis Units, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Wales / epidemiology