Kidney patient struggles to afford energy bills for her life-saving dialysis machine

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A kidney dialysis patient from Grimsby fears rising energy bills could leave her choosing between heating her home and running the machine that keeps her alive.

Andrea Reavill has been living with kidney failure for three and a half years. She currently relies on a dialysis machine at home which is on 12 hours per day. She says she is having to find nearly double the money she used to spend on powering it.

Although the NHS provides the machine, she gets no assistance with the bills to power it.

Andrea has a hereditary kidney problem and received a kidney transplant in 2007, but since it failed, she has had to rely on dialysis.

She is a teaching assistant but has not been well enough to work since November and her sick pay has now run out. She says the stress about bills is adding to her worry over her condition.

Andrea Reavill's at home dialysis machine has to run 12 hours per day

If she can't afford to run her at-home dialysis machine, she faces having to make three trips per week to hospital in Hull for haemodialysis. Transport to the hospital costs around £200 a time in taxis or by ambulance.

She said: "All kidney patients feel the cold more than most so I have to have heating - but now it will be a choice between heating or shopping for food.

"By having dialysis at home it is saving the NHS. But it is increasing the bills at home and they are going to get much higher because I have to run the machine 12 hours a day."

Aside from dialysis, she takes 33 separate pieces of medication every day, in the hope she can soon become well enough to be eligible for another transplant.

She said: "It's draining really, there's nothing to look forward to or think it's going to get any better until I've got a transplant."

She will be contacting local MPs and councillors to campaign for financial support for kidney patients like her.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We are committed to supporting kidney patients with the pressures of the cost of living, including those receiving haemodialysis treatment at home.

"NHS England is working closely with all providers of Renal services to ensure consistent measures are in place for the reimbursement of utility costs for patients who are receiving treatment at home, and that all eligible patients are made aware of these arrangements."

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