NHS England to trial home testing for chronic kidney disease (CKD)

NHS England has announced funding for a trial in West Yorkshire of home kidney function tests.

We at Kidney Care UK welcome this move to home testing. In our Let's Talk Kidneys report, you told us that you wanted to know more about your kidney health and we called for more testing for people at risk of kidney disease. We need to see more of this approach in order for CKD to be identified earlier to ultimately reduce the harm of kidney disease and improve the way it is managed.

The new pilot will feature a tool called the Minuteful Kidney which uses a urine test and a smartphone app. The GP or practice nurse can then talk to the individual about what the test results mean and whether there is any need for follow-up. The test looks for the first signs of a reduction in how well your kidneys are working by looking for particles of protein in your urine; these particles can be an early indication of a problem.

People with diabetes and high blood pressure should be invited for a kidney function check-up every year. However, not everyone attends their check-up and sometimes not all of the kidney tests are completed, especially the urine test. This trial will look at whether home testing kits can increase rates of testing and earlier identification of kidney disease. 30,000 kits will be sent out to people in West Yorkshire at the highest risk of kidney disease. We are looking forward to hearing about, and sharing, the results of this trial and the next steps in due course.

There are more details about the trial on the NHS England website.

Fiona Loud, Policy Director at Kidney Care UK said:

“About 3.5 million people in the UK have moderate to advanced kidney disease yet we know many will not be aware of it. This number is expected to grow significantly over the coming decade because of an ageing population, increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. When we asked them recently, people with kidney disease told us clearly that they want to take control of their kidney health.

“Yet detection is much lower than it should be, putting lives at risk and causing unnecessary pressure to the NHS. We really welcome tools to make identification more convenient, to reduce the harm of CKD and risk of further deterioration and kidney failure. The home test can then open up a talk about kidney health between people at risk and primary care and give access to information, advice and treatments as appropriate.”