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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 12:49 GMT
Better kidney care plan unveiled
Kidney dialysis machine
Patients may have to travel long distances for dialysis treatment
More kidney patients will be able to receive dialysis treatment at home, the government has pledged.

A ten-year plan for renal care says those who cannot have home-based care should be able to access treatment more easily than at present.

Around 30,000 patients in England are estimated to have kidney failure, half of whom require dialysis.

Campaign groups welcomed the plan, but said it failed to provide targets which could be used to measure its success.

The document lacks targets and costings that which would have enabled us to hold both the government and service providers to account
Gordon Nicholas, National Kidney Federation
The National Service Framework (NSF) for renal services sets out five standards which must be met by 2014.

It calls for the information given to kidney failure patients to be improved, individually designed dialysis treatment and better access to kidney transplants.

Local renal care services will also be audited, and examples of good practice will be passed on to other areas.


Launching the NHS, Health Secretary John Reid said: "There are currently around 30,000 patients with established renal failure in England.

"About half of these patients have had a kidney transplant, but the rest are on dialysis and many of these have to undergo four hours of dialysis three times a week, and frequently also endure long journeys to and from renal units.

"I want all these patients to benefit from the best care that the NHS can provide for their individual needs wherever they live."

He added: "The Renal NSF will ensure that expansion reflects the needs of patients, providing home dialysis where appropriate and cutting travel times by putting haemodialysis stations where they are most convenient for patients."

Gordon Nicholas, chairman of the National Kidney Federation, said the plan was "well considered and desperately needed".

But he added: "We are disappointed that the NSF lacks 'enforcement of the implementation' of these standards.

"And we note that the document also lacks targets and costings that which would have enabled us to hold both the government and service providers to account."

Professor Andy Rees, president of the Renal Association, added the NSF was a "cause for celebration".

"It firmly provides a plan for renal services with the patient at the centre, and the opportunity to eliminate `postcode' delivery of renal services forever."

He said if the standards were met, it would "transform the lives of patients with kidney disease, and those of their families."

But he added: "The key is to make sure these are delivered and the Renal Association will do everything in its power to make this happen, but it will require more resources and a strong implementation strategy for the Department of Health."

Kidney failure
15 Oct 01  |  J-M

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