This week the government has set out its approach for the Major Conditions Strategy for England. This is the plan, currently in development, for how the NHS and others will seek to improve the health of the nation and the support people receive for their health conditions.
Kidney Care UK has submitted evidence to inform the Strategy, explaining some of the key challenges for people living with kidney disease and what improvements could be made. Thank you to everyone who shared their views with us.
We are encouraged to see kidney disease acknowledged in this interim report, as it hasn’t been in previous publications. The data within it clearly demonstrates why improving kidney health improves overall health.
People with kidney disease told us they wished they had been supported with information and education about their kidney condition, especially if they had another condition like diabetes.
At Kidney Care UK, we believe the Strategy must be bold in order to support people with kidney disease to maintain their health for as long as possible and avoid complications such as cardiovascular disease.
- Millions affected. There are approximately 3.5 million people in the UK with living with chronic kidney disease (CKD), for which there is no cure. There are, however, key opportunities to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with CKD, which are not currently being maximised.
- Billions spent. Life-preserving treatments for CKD include kidney transplant and dialysis, which hamper a person’s ability to work, are costly to the UK economy and cost the NHS within the region of £1.5 billion annually. Introducing measures to prevent, identify and manage the progression of CKD, as part of the whole person package of care, will reduce the huge financial impact as well as that on quality of life.
- Inextricable link to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Around 40% of people with diabetes develop kidney disease, the third most costly complication of diabetes. Kidney disease increases risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and risk factors such as high blood pressure also increase the risk of CKD. Given these complex links between these conditions, kidney disease must be integral to the Strategy.
- Tackling health inequalities. Poverty and social deprivation are major risks for CKD as is ethnicity. Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are five times more likely to develop CKD than other groups.
- NHS manifesto commitment on five extra healthy life years. The Department of Health and Social Care, when commenting on the choice of conditions, has stated: "Focusing on the conditions that contribute most to mortality and morbidity will allow us to focus our efforts on the key actions needed to achieve our manifesto commitment of gaining five extra years of Healthy Life Expectancy by 2035." Preventing and delaying the onset of CKD, so that fewer people will experience end stage renal failure, is vital to improving individual health and wellbeing, and is critical to achieving this goal.
- Integration of mental and physical health services. The Strategy talks about better integration between these two services – we need to see this resulting in better psychological support for people living with kidney disease. Our 2022 psychosocial manifesto describes why
The government is now analysing responses to its evidence collecting exercise, as well as undertaking further engagement with people with lived experience of different health conditions. This work will inform the final strategy.
Kidney Care UK will continue to highlight the issues of most importance to people affected by kidney disease and what we think needs to be done to improve care and support.
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