Energy reimbursement payments are coming soon for people in Northern Ireland who are undergoing home peritoneal dialysis treatment.
While people undergoing home haemodialysis (HD) in Northern Ireland receive financial reimbursements for the energy used to run their machine, those receiving home peritoneal dialysis (PD) do not. Kidney Care UK brought this long-standing disparity to the attention of the Permanent Secretary Peter May at the Department of Health.
We can now announce that, in responses provided to us, Mr May has confirmed that people receiving home PD, including the children connected to the Renal Unit at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, will begin to receive reimbursement for the electricity costs associated with their home dialysis treatment.
This is a welcome intervention at a time when energy costs have been considerably increasing. At Kidney Care UK, we feel and have been lobbying strongly that no one should be out of pocket as a result of their medical treatment – especially those receiving dialysis who choose to do so in their home.
Home dialysis reimbursement in Northern Ireland
Home haemodialysis (HD)
In Northern Ireland, all home HD recipients are reimbursed for the electricity required to run their equipment, a reimbursement arrangement which has been in place since 2005. In October 2023 this rate was £50 per month.
Currently, water charges in Northern Ireland are included in domestic rates set by councils. The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has confirmed to us that were household water charges to be implemented at some stage in the future in Northern Ireland, the expansion of reimbursement arrangements to cover the cost of water usage of HD equipment would be reviewed.
Home peritoneal dialysis (PD)
Historically, reimbursement for electricity usage has not been paid to people receiving home PD in Northern Ireland. Following Kidney Care UK bringing this disparity to the attention of the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health we are now able to confirm that he has directed the Commissioners to "take urgent steps to address this discrepancy".
What’s changing following Kidney Care UK's communications with the Permanent Secretary
Reimbursement for home PD recipients in Northern Ireland, including children, has been agreed – we will provide an update once further information on the rates payable and the estimated timescale for payments to commence has been confirmed.
We have also had it confirmed that the rates for reimbursement for both home HD and home PD will be kept regularly under review to take account of changing energy costs.
For those who receive assisted peritoneal dialysis (APD) at home, Mr May has confirmed that the extended time that their machine is in use for will be factored into the plans for reimbursement.