One of the 30,000 kidney dialysis patients in the UK that is fearing the forthcoming 80% energy price cap rise is Andrea Reavill, from Grimsby. Andrea is a patient who undergoes 84 hours of lifesaving kidney treatment at home on her night time peritoneal dialysis machine per week.

Andrea Reavill says she constantly worries about the escalating prices she is having to pay simply to stay alive.

Andrea Reavill commented: “At the end of the day I simply cannot live without switching on my dialysis machine for my 12-hour nightly treatment. Although some patients are reimbursed by their hospital trust for utility costs related to their home dialysis machine, households are responsible for their own heating bills. Unfortunately, I am not one of those patients that is reimbursed for the electricity used from my machine currently. Being reimbursed for the usage of my dialysis machine would take such a huge pressure off of my financial worries.”

She continued: “All that I do is worry constantly about the cost of living my life. The stark truth is I haven’t got the luxury of affording heating, food, and electric. I would like to see the Trusts reimburse for our electric as a home dialysis patient. I also believe that the Government should be taking action to help support kidney patients.”

With energy prices intensifying, many kidney patients are being majorly affected with the cost of living due to the hard-hit prices to stay warm. The dialysis process can leave kidney patients feeling an intense sensation of cold and keeping warm proves problematic due to the rising costs. Cold rooms can also be a problem and affect the running of a dialysis machine.

Ofgem has announced the energy price cap is increasing to £3,549 per year which leaves a bleak time for many in the UK which is an unprecedented 80% increase in energy costs in October.

Dana Holmes, from Doncaster highlighted to the NKF that she is currently being reimbursed for her home haemodialysis treatment £24.00 a quarter but is still having to pay over a £100 per month extra for the running of her machine.

Dana said: “I dialyse for 12 hours minimum over 4 days a week, my machine each time it is turned on needs 5 hours to run by itself to load up before I begin my treatment, the reimbursement cost I receive per quarter for my machine just doesn’t cover the cost of the electricity I am using to keep me alive. I have been contemplating returning to hospital for my dialysis treatment and this would take away a lot of my freedom.”

She continued “I can already see a massive difference financially with the price hikes and I have called British Gas and Yorkshire Water to see what support can be offered to me but there is nothing that they can do. I have gone to lengths to review my mortgage and see what I can pay in the next five years, reviewed my mobile contract, I’ve completely stripped back and limited my finances and I worry that this will only get worse for everybody. I am paying out to keep myself alive and why I should I suffer? I am helping to save the NHS money, but it is costing me and many other home dialysis patients. It is summer at the moment, I have my heated blanket if I feel the cold, it scares me the amount of money I may have to use to keep myself warm in winter and in general the cost of living. Something I always knew when I was diagnosed with my kidney condition was that I wanted to have the freedom to have my lifesaving treatment at home, have the flexibility to do the treatment when I want and have control of my condition and treatment like many other people, but sadly returning to hospital dialysis is something I am considering due to the skyrocketing costs.”

The National Kidney Federation (NKF) have been addressing the increasing cost of home dialysis as part of their ‘Meeting the Cost of Home Dialysis Treatment’ campaign and have written to Chief Executives of NHS Trusts, Clinical Directors of Renal Services, members of the All Party Parliamentary Kidney Group and chairs of all the Kidney Patient Associations. On Wednesday 6th July 2022 they attended Parliament and hosted a Parliamentary Reception to make even more people including Lords and MP’s aware of home dialysis, including the cost of dialysis at home and the reimbursement for patients. 

Andrea Brown, NKF Chief Executive said: “Sadly, we are receiving many Helpline calls from kidney patients desperate for advice and help to get by. It is terrible to think that there are many people out there that are genuinely considering between either eating, heating or whether they should skip or cut short dialysis sessions. This is not acceptable; this is absolutely detrimental to patient’s health and wellbeing. No financial support practically gives patients an ultimatum day in and day out, people are being priced out of existence. Urgent action needs to be taken by the Trusts and Government now so patients aren’t put on a constant pedestal battling for survival. Patients need to be suitably reimbursed for the utility costs so this isn’t an additional worry on people’s minds.”