FIVE times a week, Gavin Peckitt settles into an armchair in his South Yorkshire home and hooks himself up to his dialysis machine.
The 64-year-old’s kidneys have failed and for the last two years he has relied on dialysis to survive.
The father-of-two said: “For the first five months I was coming into the Northern General Hospital, three times a week.
“When you first go on dialysis you are pretty ill. And I was pretty depressed as well.
“You just think, ‘give me the dialysis and get it over with’. But after a while I wanted control.”
Gavin, who lives in Herringthorpe, Rotherham, with his wife Joyce, 63, is now one of more than 100 kidney patients in South Yorkshire in North Derbyshire trained to give themselves dialysis, using machines in their own homes.
He said: “It means I can juggle things - arrange my dialysis myself.”
And Gavin is using the machine more than he was in hospital - five times a week or 15 hours, rather than the three times a week the hospital was able to give him.
“On dialysis I don’t feel there is anything wrong with me,” he said. “I do 50 laps of the pool twice a week, I feel fine.
“There are problems with it - its very tiring for my wife - but its better than coming to the hospital.”
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, which runs the renal service for South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Lincolnshire, is championing home dialysis as part of a new move to get people out of hospitals, and treat them in their own homes.
As well as finding new ways to treat people out of hospital, the trust is trying to shorten patients stays where they do have to come in.
In the Royal Hallamshire’s urology department, treatments such as vasectomies and cystoscopies - which used to be done in theatre - are now done as day treatments.
Consultant urological surgeon Ken Hastie said: “A lot of what we are doing is trying to reduce hospital stays.
“We are using our new lithotripsy machine to break down kidney stones, which is a non-invasive method that uses shockwaves.
“Twenty years ago, this was done using open surgery, then we used an endoscopy, an invasive method that involved a two or three-day stay.
“Lithotripsy, where it is suitable, means you have patients back in their home environment, which is better for patient outcomes.”
Michael Harper, general manager of the hospitals’ surgical services division, said: “We are really condensing down minor procedures - having people in and out in a day.
“And some complex procedures, that used to take two weeks, are now taking three days.
“One way we are doing this is by giving people physiotherapy exercises earlier - getting people practising the moves before they even go into surgery.”