Haemodialysis uses a machine and a filter to remove waste products and water from the blood when your kidneys are no longer able to do this effectively.

Normally, the kidneys filter the blood, removing harmful waste products and excess fluid before turning these into urine to be passed out of the body. If your kidneys are not fully functioning – for example, because you have advanced chronic kidney disease (kidney failure) – the kidneys may not be able to clean the blood very well.

There are two main types of dialysis: haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Haemodialysis is the most common type of dialysis.

More on what we do

Hemodialysis uses a machine and a filter to remove waste products and water from the blood. During the procedure, a tube is attached to a needle in your arm. Sometimes it's done through a dialysis line, which is placed in one of the large neck veins. Blood passes along the tube and into an external machine that filters it, before it's passed back into the arm along another tube. This is usually carried out three times a week, with each session lasting around four hours.

Haemodialysis can be done here in hospital or at one of our five 'satellite' units in the region. It can also be done at the patient's home.

All patients receiving haemodialysis have monthly blood tests to monitor their treatment, discuss their general health and look at any new or ongoing problems. Changes in the dialysis prescription are sometimes necessary and can include changes to the length of each session.  Your specialist nurse will talk to you about your care.

Wonford Haemodialysis Unit

The Wonford Haemodialysis Unit has 15 dialysis spaces, we provide a haemodialysis service for any patients within our geographical area across Devon and Somerset for those who need to attend an acute unit for any reason. This may include new patients starting dialysis or existing patients who need to attend for a medical or clinical review. We also provide ongoing dialysis support for any in-patients within the RD&E who require ongoing dialysis during their hospital stay and those wishing to holiday in the area where spaces allow.

The Unit operates two 10 hour shifts and is operational from 7.30am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday.

Satellite haemodialysis

There are five satellite units linked to the RD&E, which can provide expert haemodialysis care nearer to the patient’s home. Units at Heavitree, Torquay and Honiton are run by the RD&E Trust. Units at Taunton and Barnstaple are partnerships between the trust and a private specialist renal company. All are overseen by the nephrologists (kidney doctors) based at the RD&E.

Patients attend the unit closest to their home address. The units vary in size having between 8 and 24 stations all providing haemodialysis treatment for patients closer to their home, mostly with 3 treatment sessions per day, one in the morning, afternoon and evening. Each patient attends 3 times per week in their own specific time slot either Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.

All the satellite units (as well as the main units) offer holiday haemodialysis. Exeter, Honiton, South Devon are bookable through the Holiday Haemodialysis Co-ordinator Alison Knights Davies. Telephone 01392 402194 or email rde-tr.holidayhaemo@nhs.net. North Devon and Taunton should be booked directly with the centre.

Home haemodialysis team (HHD)

We offer renal education, home haemodialysis training and support, including advice on how to set up the machine, connection/disconnection, monitoring of treatment and vital signs.

We also provide information regarding the positive results of frequent dialysis with the independence and ownership patients feel. Other benefits include reduced travel to and from hospital and reduced fluid and dietary restrictions. The responsibility of choosing this kind of treatment can be daunting but rest assured all the help and support is available for you.

Our team

Our team consists of: consultants, dietitians, clinical nurse specialists and assistant practitioners. See below for contacts. 

Our specialist nurses are supported by a team of renal technicians. They maintain the dialysis equipment both in the main site and the satellite units seven days a week.

Where to find us

RD&E Heavitree, Gladstone Rd, Exeter EX1 2ED

Heavitree Haemodialysis Unit

South Devon Haemodialysis Unit (SDSKU): Pomona House, Edginswell Business Park, Oak View Close Torquay TQA 7FF. 

East Devon (EDSKU) Honiton: Honiton Community Hospital, Malpits Lane, Honiton, EX14 2DE.

North Devon Satellite Kidney Unit (Fresenius Medical Care): Brannam Buisness Park, Oakwood Close, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 3NJ. 

Taunton Renal Unit (Fresenius Medical Care): Creech Castle, Bathpool, Taunton, TA1 2DX. 

Contact us

Renal Day Case

The main kidney unit is based in the Renal Day Case area (near to Clyst Ward). To contact Renal Day Case, call 01392 402514 or 402515

The Haemodialysis Unit, Wonford

There is a renal registrar based on the Renal Day Case Unit, assigned to cover any medical queries on a daily basis

Telephone: 01392 402589 or 402521

Home haemodialysis team

Email: rde-tr.homehaemodialysis@nhs.net

Holiday Haemodialysis Co-ordinator

Telephone: 01392 402194

Email: rde-tr.holidayhaemo@nhs.net

Please note: North Devon and Taunton should be booked directly with the centre

Contact details and numbers for satellite units:

Heavitree Haemodialysis Unit

Telephone: 01392 405344

South Devon Haemodialysis Unit (SDSKU)

Telephone: 01392 405874

East Devon (EDSKU) Honiton 

Telephone: 01404 540581

North Devon Satellite Kidney Unit (Fresenius Medical Care)

Telephone: 01271 318800

Taunton Renal Unit (Fresenius Medical Care)

Telephone: 01823 424510


Various dialysis clinics are held at the unit. Our renal consultants review the new dialysis starter patients and the longer term patients.

Supporting you

We work very closely with the kidney unit psychology services. If needed, a referral for additional support can be made.

We also have access to a local counselling service, Talkworks.



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