The Department of Nephrology was established at Birmingham Children's Hospital in 1965 by Dr Richard White. The paediatric dialysis unit was established in 1979 by Dr Mike Winterborn and was originally sited in a charitably-funded annexe to the adult renal unit in East Birmingham Hospital (now Heart of England NHS FT). General nephrology was undertaken at Birmingham Children's Hospital and renal transplantation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (now University Hospital Birmingham FT). In 1991 BKPA funding allowed the dialysis unit to move into a Yorkon building on the Birmingham Children's Hospital site. The first renal transplant took place at Birmingham Children's Hospital on 21st December 1993 but renal transplantation of children more than 15 kgs in weight continued at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. In 1997, all renal transplantation in children was transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital. In May 1998 the hospital transferred to the renovated city-centre former General Hospital on Steelhouse Lane from the site it had occupied in Ladywood since 1917.
The Department of Nephrology now comprises an 8 station haemodialysis unit, a 10 bedded ward shared with urology, adjoining urodynamics suite, clinic room and offices for specialist nurse practitioners. The environment is unsatisfactory and we are looking to relocate the department within the hospital.
The Department of Nephrology serves the population of the West Midlands (approximately 5.5 million) and beyond into Wales, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. All aspects of nephrology are provided for, including acute and chronic renal failure services, renal transplantation, plasmapheresis, lipid apheresis and MARS therapy. Birmingham Children's Hospital has a paediatric nephrology service and a paediatric liver transplant programme on the same site, consequently it undertakes most combined liver/kideny transplants for the UK.