Kidney care ‘at serious risk’ according to renal experts
New report warns of tens of thousands of lives at risk as Government strategy expires.
The lack of a clear national strategy for kidney health will put tens of thousands of people’s lives at risk
each year, according to the authors of a new report published today by leading kidney patient and
healthcare professional organisations in the UK.
The report, entitled ‘Kidney Health: Delivering Excellence’, highlights major inequalities in access to high
quality care, poor diagnosis of kidney disease and alarming levels of avoidable harm, at a time when the
Government’s 10-year Renal National Service Frameworks come to an end.
Key facts: At least one million people with moderate to severe kidney disease have not been identified.
Almost 20,000 additional heart attacks and strokes are seen every year in people with moderate
to severe chronic kidney disease. Acute kidney injury (AKI) results in up to 43,000 preventable deaths every year.
Overall around one pound per £77 of the entire NHS budget is spent on kidney care, a total of £1.4bn in
2009/10. Much of this spending is for managing the consequences of missed or late diagnoses.
“Without a clear Government direction, kidney health services are at serious risk.” commented Fiona
Loud, Policy Director of the British Kidney Patient Association. “The consequences of this for very large
numbers of patients are almost unthinkable. AKI alone affects up to 1 in 5 emergency hospital
admissions and is responsible for 200 times more deaths each year than MRSA infection. There are over
6,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant and each year 8% of these needlessly die or become so ill
that they are removed from the list before they are transplanted. Whilst there have been great
improvements over the years in the diagnosis of kidney disease, there are still at least one million
people with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease who have yet to be identified.”
‘Kidney Health: Delivering Excellence’ was co-written by kidney patients and healthcare professionals on
an equal footing, and represents the most comprehensive review of NHS kidney services since work to
initiate the Renal National Service Frameworks took place more than a decade ago. It concludes that
there are sixteen priority areas in which the NHS should aspire to achieve improvements, including
reducing avoidable harm from AKI, reducing the wide variation in access to home dialysis therapies and
self-care, increasing the number of and delivering more equitable provision of transplants, better
identification of patients by GPs and increasing public awareness.
“Despite the progress that was made over the course of the past ten years, in many areas improvements
are now levelling off. A clear strategy is needed if we are not to compromise the health gains that have
been made to date” commented Dr Hugh Gallagher, Consultant Nephrologist, Epsom and St Helier NHS
Trust. “There are over 3 million people with moderate to severe kidney problems in the UK –
comparable to the number with diabetes. They deserve better.”
‘Kidney Health: Delivering Excellence’ can be found at http://www.britishkidney-pa.co.uk/images/stories/downloads/Kidney-Health-Report.pdf
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