The National Kidney Federation (NKF) has launched a new national campaign to prevent home dialysis patients from falling into postcode poverty. One in five dialysis patients across the UK dialyse from home, many patients are thinking of swapping home dialysis for hospital treatment due to rising energy costs.

Research by the NKF has revealed the way in which home dialysis treatment is funded across the UK differs substantially. The NKF are calling on clearer guidelines to ensure every kidney patient are not left out of pocket when it comes to running dialysis equipment from home.

The new NKF campaign, called ‘Meeting the Cost of Home Dialysis Treatment – Together We Can’ is calling on Government and NHS Trusts to urgently review the way in which home dialysis treatment is funded. To create clear and consistent guidelines, to ensure no patient is denied from receiving home treatment, based upon affordability of care.

Over 30,000 people in the UK receive kidney dialysis treatment every year, however, one in five are currently treated from home, with patients typically receiving three or more dialysis sessions per week, which last for around four hours.  

The research revealed that whilst some trusts fully cover the running costs of home dialysis equipment, others leave patients hundreds of pounds out of pocket each year. The NKF is warning that more patients could be forced to return to receiving treatment in hospital, placing additional pressure on the NHS.

Kasonde Konie, a second-time home dialysis patient, who has been receiving her treatment from home since December 2020, said:

“I am not a worrier, however I do have concerns despite my favourable current situation. A main concern for me and many other patients is that we have to actively look for ways to earn or boost income. It's not always easy when you have a chronic health condition and the costs continue to escalate. I work part time. I am lucky to have a wage and a good quality of life at home with my lifesaving treatment, but I still have worries surrounding my finances. In the back of my mind I am thinking about the future of whether I will be needing to make a choice between heating or eating. Continuing price increases will have a major impact on patients' mental health. The reimbursement rates, that I am paid at the moment, whilst appreciated, are just a drop in the ocean.”

Andrea Brown, Chief Executive, National Kidney Federation said:

“Home dialysis treatment can help patients have a higher quality and standard of life than being treated in hospital. It helps to free up hospital beds to enable more patients to receive treatment, however, our research has revealed that more patients are considering a return to receiving hospital treatment, due to the rising costs.

Treating patients at home allows for longer and slower dialysis, which can improve kidney function and life expectancy; a past study showed a 13% lower risk of death in patients, and a 77% improvement in health. Dialysing more frequently is also proven to reduce recovery times.

Our research has revealed there are significant differences across the UK in the way home dialysis treatment is funded. We are calling on the Government and the NHS Trusts to urgently review the current funding provisions to ensure no kidney patient is left behind.”

The National Kidney Federation has written a letter to Chief Executives of NHS Trusts, members of the All Party Parliamentary Kidney Group, Chairs of Kidney Patient Associations and Clinical Directors of Renal Services to push for further action. It is also calling on patients affected to contact their local MP.

The National Kidney Federation is calling on the Government and the NHS Trusts to introduce universal rates to reimburse patients who are treated at home, based upon the type of dialysis machine used at home, time spent using the machine, number of sessions spent on the machine per week, as well as heating and lighting considerations.

More information about the National Kidney Federation’s ‘Meeting the Cost of Home Dialysis Treatment – Together We Can’ campaign can be found here: