The Government and NHS England have said that they are developing a new strategy for ‘major conditions’ covering cancers, cardiovascular disease – including stroke and diabetes, dementia, mental ill health and musculoskeletal disorders. However, this does not include kidney disease which, as you will all know, is so closely connected with heart disease and diabetes.
Kidney Care UK does not think it is right that kidney disease is not in there.
We certainly have mixed feelings about this strategy, which is trying to be all things to all people but may end up being too little for anyone.
We have written to the Health Secretary to ask that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is included within the remit of the recently announced Major Conditions Strategy.
The government has said that it will be putting out a consultation on its plans. When this happens, we will be asking you for your thoughts to help us with our reply.
There are five key reasons we think the government should be prioritising CKD:
- Millions affected. There are approximately 3.5 million people in the UK with living with CKD, for which there is no cure. While there is no cure there are key opportunities to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with CKD which are not currently being maximised.
- Billions spent. Life preserving treatments 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. It is anticipated that , without action to address these complex links, these figures will become significantly worse over the next decade, owing to the increase in key risk factors associated with CKD including diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. 40% of people with diabetes develop kidney disease. Conversely, having CKD also heightens the risk of these other major conditions. As cardiovascular diseases are a central pillar of the strategy, CKD must also be included.
- Tackling health inequalities. We note that health disparities will be within the scope of the strategy. 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.