UK Government

Department of Health: NHS Marks Five Years of Progress in Kidney Care

Press Release   •   Dec 14, 2009 11:12 GMT

The Department of Health has today published an update on progress made in kidney care since the National Service Framework was developed five years ago.  It shows that the NHS has significantly improved diagnosis of kidney disease and treatment for those living with it.

It is estimated that 1 in 8 people in England are living with kidney disease with an increasing number of people being diagnosed each year.  With early diagnosis and good management, the lives of people living with kidney disease can be significantly improved.  The NHS has already made good progress in diagnosing kidney disease through raising awareness and better diagnostic testing, and further advances will be made with initiatives such as NHS Health Checks and NHS Kidney Care.

As well as increasing available capacity for dialysis, a focus on patient-centred care has led to innovative ways of delivering services for kidney patients whose condition is serious enough to require dialysis.  An increase in the number of satellite renal units means that care can be delivered closer to patients’ homes making it easier for them to fit dialysis into their lives.

Health Minister Ann Keen said:

“The NHS has made good progress in improving services for kidney disease patients since the National Service Framework was launched five years ago.  More people are being diagnosed earlier which can improve the quality of life for people living with kidney disease.

“But we are not complacent – we will continue to drive forwards further improvements in the prevention and management of acute kidney injury and increasing choice of treatment options for patients.  The NHS is already showing that by putting patients’ needs at the centre of services, it can deliver care in innovative ways – such as by providing dialysis closer to home, and where clinically appropriate, in patients’ own homes to minimise the disruption to their lives and improve outcomes.”

Donal O’Donoghue, National Clinical Director for Kidney Care, said:

“The National Service Framework set out a vision for the NHS.  The commitment to delivering this vision is having clear benefits for patients, including improved diagnosis and management in primary care and a decrease in the number of late referrals for dialysis and transplants.  There is still a lot more work to be done and I hope to see progress in all areas of kidney care continue over the next five years as we move services from good to great.”

Today’s report also highlights the improvements made in organ donation for the most serious cases of kidney disease.  As well as recognising the work of the Organ Donation Taskforce in driving up the number of donors, it shares best practice in helping patients undergoing transplant surgery.  Bristol Children’s Hospital realised that the majority of donors are family members and it is often distressing for children to be unable to see a parent in the days following surgery while they are both recovering.  By introducing webcams to wards the hospital has been able to help families communicate at this difficult time.

On a national level NHS Kidney Care is working with kidney services to improve patient care.  One initiative highlighted in the report is the resource My Kidney Care Plan, a personal care plan for all patients with kidney disease to help them discuss their treatment with doctors and nurses and make informed decisions about their care.  Evidence shows that involving patients in their care and providing them with information on their treatment helps them to manage their own health better with the support of NHS staff.

Notes to editors

  • For media enquiries only please contact the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5221
  • The Renal National Service Framework can be viewed here:
  • http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/Renal/index.htm

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