A plan to rehome a dialysis unit at a community healthcare centre has been branded a “penny-pinching” scheme.

The NHS’ North Central London Integrated Care Board (NCLICB) confirmed in December it was eyeing up the Peckwater Centre in Kentish Town as the "potential" new site for the Mary Rankin Dialysis Unit.

The renal care facility is currently based at St Pancras Hospital, but is being forced to move amid major redevelopment to provide new mental health facilities at the site.

The Kentish Town healthcare hub currently brings together health, mental health, social care and wheelchair users services under one roof - and patients fear these will be "scattered".

On Tuesday evening (January 23), Camden Council’s health and adult social care scrutiny committee heard that the Peckwater Centre is considered to be the “only option” for the dialysis unit.

Alison Edgington, programme director for the St Pancras transformation, told councillors that the goal of the planned move is to “improve services” for local people.

She said: “Anybody walking around that [St Pancras] site can see how crumbling and how out-of-date those buildings are.

“We do need to deliver our transformation programme, to realise all of those new health facilities for our mental health patients.”

She added that proposals to move the dialysis unit to the centre would not go ahead until an alternative location for the services was found.

Patients at The Caversham Group Practice, a GP practice neighbouring the Peckwater Centre, had previously raised concerns that current services under one roof would be forced to move or "jammed into" unsuitable accomocation.

Dr Kevin Clarkson, a managing partner at the practice, said on Tuesday night that he opposed the plans on behalf of all GPs in Kentish Town.

He said: “We are so clear that we have to oppose the loss of what we see as effectively the jewel in the crown of the primary care estate in Kentish Town."

He added that plans to relocate the dialysis unit to the site seem to have “come out of the blue” and questioned whether it was for reasons that are “for the good of the population that site serves”.

Ms Edgington said that plans to move the dialysis unit to the centre were first mooted back in 2019, and that there had been “no intention" for the process to be underhand.

Another speaker at the meeting, Roderick Allison, who is chair of Caversham Patients’ Participation Group, said that health chiefs had chosen the “penny-pinching” option.

In the Mary Rankin dialysis unit site search summary report, the Peckwater Centre was ranked the most affordable option.

At the end of the meeting, Cllr Larraine Revah asked that the transformation director return to the committee at a future date with a timeline for when the move could take place, and with a clear plan for where the Peckwater services would be located.

She added that evidence of consultation with impacted patients would also be needed for any future planning process.