Kent Renal Counselling Service

Coronavirus update: Due to restrictions in place we are unable to meet in person. We are holding virtual meetings so members can still see and support each other. If you would like to know more and join a virtual meeting pleasecontact Sharon Byrne.

Who would I see?

Amanda Bevin 

I started in post April 2007 having previously worked as a Renal Nurse in Devon and various London Hospitals since 1991.  I work full-time Mon-Fri.

I completed my counselling training in 1998 and have worked in a variety of settings from working with: young people; alcohol projects; bereavement services and latterly as an amputee counsellor. I am originally from New Zealand.

I have always wanted to be able to offer a counselling service within a renal department as I feel it is an area of great need and feel privileged to be able to have this opportunity.

We also offer Volunteer Counsellor placements for those training at Diploma level.

Renal Counsellor Amanda Bevin

Sharon Byrne

I work part-time Wed-Fri. I joined the team in June 2015 through a grant from the then British Kidney Patients Association (Kidney Care UK).

I qualified as a counsellor in 2012 and had the honour to be a volunteer counsellor at Pilgrims Hospice, Ashford.  I have had the privilege of working with many individuals ranging from the young to, the more mature in both specialist and generic settings.  Prior to this my professional background had been in the Education sector.

As well as counselling I  also facilitate “The Kent Kidney Care Centre Support Group” with Lu Molina (chair of the Kent Kidney Patients Association: KKPA) which runs bi-monthly, with the venues alternating between East and West Kent. More details can be found on posters located in all renal outpatient reception areas.

Renal Counsellor Sharon Byrne. Image for the public renal counselling webpages.

What is provided and where?

We are based at Canterbury but do travel out to the five satellite units within the Kent area- if this is your nearest unit – Ashford, Dover, Margate, Maidstone and Medway. 

The service is provided over the working week Mon-Fri predominantly 9-5pm

There is a designated Counselling Room within the Renal Outpatient department at Canterbury; otherwise we may see people in clinic rooms at satellite units; or at the bedside on Marlowe ward; or in dialysis/satellite treatment areas. The latter two do provide less privacy than an office space and this needs to be taken into consideration when appointments are booked. For example, it might mean spending more time after or before dialysis for a counselling session if privacy is a factor. A side room can sometimes be arranged with the unit if available, though, again you are receiving treatment at the same time as counselling. We also offer phone appointments if this suits our clients and we may often start with an initial phone assessment to start the process as soon as possible following your referral to the counselling service.  We do have a waiting list at present for assessment and starting counselling.

We offer:

  • Information - resource person
  • Support - listening ear
  • Advice / Advocacy - if you would like some support /someone to act on your behalf
  • Counselling - discuss specific issues or difficulties ( Volunteer Counsellors)
  • Phone sessions for those unable to travel or with time constraints.  Web-ex sessions may also be possible in the future.

What is Counselling?

  • Counselling is an opportunity to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences without fear of rejection or criticism
  • An opportunity to reflect on your situation may help you come to terms with this knowledge. A chance to put things into perspective
  • You choose what and how much you wish to share with the counsellor
  • All discussions are confidential within the counselling service – the content will not be shared with anyone else without your prior knowledge / agreement outside of the service.

Who can access the service?

  • The person with chronic kidney disease
  • Family or friends if there is a renal related matter concerning them
  • Living donors – transplant
  • Individuals, couples or families depending on their needs (however we are not qualified couple therapists)

Anyone can Self-refer themselves, or ask a member of staff to contact us with your permission.

Kent Kidney Care Support Group

Anyone with kidney problems and their families can join our support group. It is an opportunity to meet people, gain support, knowledge, and friendship.

The group meets every two months in various locations across Kent and usually runs from 10.30am to 12.30pm. We are planning evening meetings also.  We can, at your request, invite guest speakers from the health professions or supporting organisations, such as dietitians or carers support, to come along and provide answers to the questions you may have. If you would like to know more or get involved please contact the renal counsellors.

Contact details

Phone: 01227 864380 answer machine available – so please leave a message and we will get back to you

Email: abevin@nhs.net  or sharon.byrne3@nhs.net

Or alternatively drop into our office in the Renal Outpatient department at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, located beside the Phlebotomy room or ask at reception. Our door is always open if we are not with a client or on the phone, when we are in the building. Our weekly itinerary is on the door of the counselling room.