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Kidney disease: A UK public health emergency

We commissioned an independent report into the economic impact of kidney disease in the UK.

Full and summary versions of the report, Kidney disease: A UK public health emergency, are available to download.

Data for your area

Use the interactive dashboards to view the scale of kidney disease across the UK

Urgent action is needed

The report sets out key findings and proposed interventions.

Kidney disease is a public health emergency that threatens to overwhelm the NHS

  • Kidney disease is costing the UK economy £7 billion a year, costs which could rise to £13.9 billion in just ten years
  • Growing numbers of people are at risk of kidney disease due to increased cases of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity
  • Significant government action is needed to implement four healthcare interventions that could save 10,000 lives in the UK by 2033 

Proposed healthcare interventions

The report sets our four key intervention that could save more that 10,000 lives between 2023 and 2033.

  • Earlier and improved diagnosis, targeting under-served populations through outreach programmes to improve screening opportunities and increase early diagnosis
  • Improved management of chronic kidney disease for patients who are either untreated or not receiving standard care according to clinical guidelines (e.g. adequate blood pressure management)
  • Greater use of new medications such as SGLT-2 inhibitors – a medication used in diabetes treatment but which also slows progression of kidney disease
  • Increased rates of transplantation, specifically pre-emptive transplants that would prevent people needing dialysis. This intervention would be cost saving for the NHS.

Decisions made by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) about whether the NHS should fund treatments are based on a cost effectiveness model. NICE guides refer to a threshold of £20 000-£30 000 per quality adjusted life year (QALY) - a commonly used measure in health economic evaluations to quantify the effect of a medical intervention or prevention programme.

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