Charity warns political leaders: The overwhelming threat of kidney disease is clear  


With voters turning out to the polls in under a month, leading charity Kidney Research UK has shared an urgent plea in an open
letter to political leaders marking one year since the publication of its report
Kidney disease – A UK public health emergency.

The report clearly spelled out how
more than 7 million people are already living with kidney disease in the UK – more than 10% of the population – whilst the
disease costs the country £7billion a year, a figure that could almost double by 2033.

Releasing the independently produced report, the charity warned that
without urgent action the NHS risked being overwhelmed by patients needing life-sustaining dialysis treatment,
with capacity needing to grow by 400% in ten years just to meet demand.

Kidney disease is already the tenth biggest killer worldwide and
cases are rapidly increasing – a direct link to our ageing population and rising cases of diabetes, high
blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

But despite Kidney Research UK setting out four clear interventions that were either cost-effective or cost-saving for the NHS
and could save 10,000 lives in a decade, the
lack of response to the report from government has been disappointing, said Sandra Currie, chief executive of Kidney Research UK:

“Our report didn’t just describe the huge risk that kidney disease poses to our population, our health system and our economy,
we also provided four realistic and costed interventions, and yet – despite the continued outstanding efforts by those in the NHS – we have seen no substantive response from government.

numbers of patients in kidney failure needing resource-intensive dialysis or transplants will flood our hospitals unless the UK’s governments act now to improve early diagnosis, enhance disease management, increase the uptake of protective drugs and raise
rates of transplantation.

“That is why we are sending this open letter to all our political leaders
as they seek mandates – we know this public health emergency can be averted but our political leaders need to act and start to prioritise kidney health.”

Kidney Research UK us not alone is raising the alarm.
International organisations are calling for kidney disease to be a public health priority1
and the Health Foundation has also identified kidney disease as one of the fastest growing major illnesses.2

Sandra added: “Six people already die every week waiting for a transplant: this is the human cost of kidney disease alongside
the well-documented catastrophic physical and mental health impacts for those with kidney disease and their loved ones.

“At this stage nobody knows what the outcome of the election will be, but one thing we do know is
that time to take action on kidney disease is running out,”

The charity is calling for the UK’s governments to:
make kidney disease a priority in long-term health plans to drive systemic, nationwide change 
increase investment in kidney disease research to £50m per annum to reflect the significant cost of kidney disease to the NHS 
support the NHS to prioritise prevention of chronic kidney disease by improving testing and access to effective treatments 
include chronic kidney disease in initiatives on health inequalities. 

calls to action are also reflected in the charity’s manifesto
for change, which calls
for political parties to commit to responding to and prioritising the real risks presented by kidney disease.

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