Chronic kidney disease affects 3.5 million people in the UK, costing the NHS more than a billion per year, yet is still not recognised as a major health condition.

On Wednesday 8th March the National Kidney Federation (NKF) was in Parliament to highlight opportunities to MPs and for the NHS to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease. The event was sponsored by Laura Farris, Newbury Conservative MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Kidney Group (APPKG), this group is run by the NKF who perform the role of Secretariat.

The event was held to celebrate World Kidney Day which took place on Thursday 9th March 2023 and to emphasise the importance of early diagnosis. The event was supported by AstraZeneca*, Fresenius Medical Care and

To provide an insight into living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and those who need dialysis, there were also three different types of lifesaving dialysis machines demonstrated at the event. Dialysis is a lifesaving treatment which removes waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly. It often involves diverting blood to a machine to be cleaned. Normally, the kidneys filter the blood, removing harmful waste products and excess fluid and turning these into urine to be passed out of the body. If your kidneys are not working properly the kidney may not be able to clean the blood properly. Waste products and fluid can build up to dangerous levels in the body and if left untreated without dialysis it can be fatal. Dialysis filters out unwanted substances and fluids from the blood before this happens.

Urine tests were available to all eligible parliamentarians, with medical professionals on hand to explain the simple smartphone-based test and to discuss results. Blood pressure tests were also offered to raise the awareness of maintaining good kidney health.

Guest speakers from the event included: Dr Raj Thakkar, talking about chronic kidney disease and early detection, Funmi Lawal, a kidney patient with renal failure which was caused by high blood pressure during pregnancy, Katie Vinen, Clinical Vice President of the UK Kidney Association (UKKA) and Kidney Doctor and Clare Morlidge, Co-President of UK Kidney Association and Renal Pharmacist, spoke on behalf of the UKKA.

An ITN production programme launch on Understanding Kidney Health in collaboration with the NKF was also featured.

The parliamentary reception was concluded by Laura Farris MP summarising the three policy asks:

  • Early detection - The NHS should introduce incentives to help drive earlier detection and diagnosis of CKD in primary care.

  • CKD management and treatment - Clinical teams should be provided with support and resources necessary to implement best practice in CKD treatment.

  • Home-based dialysis access - Patients should be offered a choice of dialysis at home, and appropriate policy measures should be put in place to support these patients.

Also launched at the Parliamentary Reception event was the National Kidney Federation report, 'Home Dialysis in the Context of COVID-19 in the UK – Two years on’, to showcase the latest home dialysis data findings and responses from devolved governments and clinical directors.

Over 35 MPs and 75 Peers attended the event in Parliament and met representatives from around the country.

"It is a privilege to chair the All-Party Parliamentary Kidney Group and their World Kidney Day event in Parliament was a reminder of the vital role that the National Kidney Federation play in supporting patients. Their event highlighted the importance of early diagnosis and identified where care could be improved but it also showed how kidney care has vastly improved with a far better understanding of how best to care for and support patients. I commend the work of the NKF in terms of bringing patients, clinicians and other groups together to continue improving the experiences and outcomes for kidney patients.” said Laura Farris MP.

“I would firstly like to thank, Fresenius and AstraZeneca who collaborated with us on this event and our wonderful guest speakers, I would also like to thank all of our attendees including MPs and Peers for taking the time to come to our event. The day was a great success, we shall continue to support those affected by kidney disease, as well as raising further awareness to others with the APPKG’s support.” said NKF Chief Executive, Andrea Brown

Please note:
AstraZeneca has provided a sponsorship grant towards this independent Programme*