Managing Renal Disease in Wales – the need for better “housekeeping”
According to Government figures, it is thought that up to 10,000 people in Wales have renal disease and it affects all age groups. We believe there are more than this as there is no one organisation in Wales collating figures and what we get from the Assembly is sketchy.
Renal disease can impair quality of life significantly and its consequences can be fatal. There is no doubt that the trend is upward and the new NHS Wales Renal National Service Framework predicts a year on year increase of 3-4% in total patients requiring Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT) and an annual increase of 7% requiring haemodialysis.
The NHS in Wales has responded in recent years to the challenges posed by rising levels of renal disease by expanding facilities for treating patients with established renal failure by dialysis and transplantation, but the continuing increases means more needs to be done to keep pace with growing demand.
The NSF in Wales provides a footprint for renal services but this needs to be properly introduced and benchmarked with a clearer and timetabled plan for action. In March 2007 NHS Wales published its Renal National Service Framework (NSF) which echoed the themes of the Government’s Designed for Life Strategy of more prevention, early detection, improved access and better services, aiming to ensure the right services are provided in the right place at the right time. This is clearly what we would require for kidney patients in Wales. Whilst kidney patients in Wales welcome the Renal NSF they feel it critically lacks an action plan combined with a clear measurable timetable for action.