Tens of thousands of lives are at risk because the UK lacks a clear national kidney health strategy, leading kidney organisations have claimed.
A new report published by a group of charities and patient organisations including the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) shows that £1.4 billion was spent on kidney care in 2009/10.
At least one million people with moderate to severe kidney disease have not been identified, and almost 20,000 additional heart attacks and strokes are seen each year in this group.
Kidney Health has said acute kidney injury (AKI) results in up to 43,000 preventable deaths each year.
The report, Kidney Health: Delivering Excellence, highlights “major inequalities” in access to high quality care at a time when the government’s 10-year Renal National Service Framework has come to an end.
Fiona Loud, policy director of the British Kidney Patient Association said: “Without a clear government direction, kidney health services are at serious risk.
“There are over 6,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant and each year 8% of these needlessly die or become so ill that they are removed from the list before they are transplanted.”
Dr Hugh Gallagher, consultant nephrologist, Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust said: “Despite the progress that was made over the course of the past ten years, in many areas improvements are now leveling off.
“A clear strategy is needed if we are not to compromise the health gains that have been made to date.”