Page 6 - NKF_KL issue 18_Winter 2017_for web
P. 6

Y       a) Charge all dialysis patients not on certain benefits for their essential transport to and from dialysis units
                        ou will no doubt have read the news that Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (Kernow CCG) announced in
                        September that it proposed to


                       under their care in Cornwall.  AND
                       b) Subject all those patients qualifying for free transport based on their benefit entitlement, to a three
                     monthly rigorous assessment to ascertain whether they would continue to qualify for free transport for a
                      further three months.
                        NKF immediately contacted all members of the All Party Parliamentary Kidney Group (APPKG) to request it put
                             Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group prepares

                                to charge dialysis patients for essential


                                 transport to and from their dialysis unit


                                 pressure on Kernow CCG to reverse this decision, and surveyed all CCGs (via the NKF’s KPAs) in
                                  the UK to establish which, if any other CCGs were pursuing or considering implementation of this
                                  life threatening policy.
                                  The APPKG wrote to Jeremy Hunt MP, Health Minister to request his immediate intervention.  The
                                  NKF survey of all UK KPAs revealed that Kernow CCG was in fact the ONLY CCG proposing to
                                  charge dialysis patients for their essential transport to and from their dialysis sessions. However, it
                                  did reveal that Somerset CCG is currently engaged in a consultation with a view to reviewing their
                                   charging policy for transport to dialysis for its patients.

                                   The action by NKF, the reaction from all dialysis patients in the Cornwall region and as a result of
                                    several emergency meetings called by other kidney charities and the entire medical renal team at
                                    Treliske, has resulted in a one month postponement (now extended to the end of November) of
                                     implementation to allow further consultation to take place.  A statement from Kernow CCG has
                                      now been released but wording remains ambiguous.  We await clarification of the terms set
                                      out in this statement.
                                      Cornwall has a disproportionately older population and this weighting is reflected in the local
                                      dialysis population.  Kidney Life visited the dialysis ward in Treliske and spoke to several
                                      patients on the dialysis ward.
                                      Ann, who is 75 years old and a full time carer to her husband who has dementia, dialyses at
                                      Treliske every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  She knows of nobody on the ward who was
                                      consulted prior to the CCG implementing this decision and has been told that her transport to
                                      and from dialysis is to be considered ‘non-essential travel’.  She lives in St Austell and would,
                                      if this policy is implemented have to pay a return fare of £44.50 three times a week.  Her only
                                      income is her state pension which is just £72.88 per week.
                                      Cornwall is a beautiful county but its many little villages are not served by a regular bus
                                      service, street lighting is sparse at night and often long stretches of minor roads through the
                                      smaller hamlets and villages have no pavements.
                                      NKF believes it is imperative that this policy is completely reversed so that patients who need
                                      transport to and from their dialysis sessions are provided with an efficient service at no charge
                                      to them.  The consequences of charging patients – many of whom are older and too proud to
                                      ask for financial assistance – are potentially life threatening, as it is likely that some will simply
                                       choose not to dialysis.  For those on certain benefits the spectre of a quarterly ‘rigorous
                                       assessment’ of their entitlement to free transport adds an unacceptable level of stress to their
                                       already stressful dialysis regime.  Kidney transplantation is not an option for many dialysis
                                       patients so their three times a week dialysis sessions at their local unit is what keeps them
                                       alive.  Without this regular treatment patients in kidney failure die.
                                       We need your help.
                                       A national petition has been started online at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/cornish-
                                       renal-patients-charged-unaffordable-fees-to-travel-to-dialysis
                                      PLEASE sign this petition to ensure this cruel policy is not implemented in Cornwall and is not
                                      considered a plausible money saving option by your CCG.
                                     Thank you
                                       6  Winter  2017   www.kidney.org.uk   HELPLINE  0800 169 09 36
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