Friday, 14 March 2008

Lord Darzi is making a habit of this (World Kidney Day 2008)

Lord Darzi stepped into the breach to address the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kidney Disease reception hosted by Evan Harris MP for World Kidney Day at the Houses of Parliament on 13 March. Ann Keen MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary for Health) was due to speak but illness meant she had to send last minute apologies. Having last week recorded a video message to the Clinical Directors Forum, Lord Darzi’s new found kidney knowledge came in handy. Ara Darzi talked about the profile that kidney disease was now receiving in the long term conditions workstreams of the next stage review – Our NHS Our Future, what we refer to as the Darzi review. He emphasised the preventative dividend of more effective public health strategies for vascular disease, the need to integrate kidney care into vascular risk assessment and management programmes and the importance of involving individuals in their own care planning. Having promised not to use the polyclinic word, but having minutes before shown me a facsimile from 1948 announcing the creation of the National Health Service that talked of health centres where you might not see your own GP for treatment, he did talk about dialysis closer to people’s homes. Lord Darzi reiterated the goal of increasing cadaveric transplantation by 50% over the next 5 years. Finishing by confirming the commitment to a comprehensive end of life strategy that would support people who choose the no dialysis option, Lord Darzi had in fact covered the whole kidney disease pathway.

Consummate though the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health speech was, the story Fiona Loud (Chair of the Kidney Alliance), told was even better. Fiona’s experience of chronic kidney disease, both modalities of dialysis and eventually live donor transplantation made the policies, stages of kidney disease and clinical guidelines real. You can find out more about Fiona’s story and what it is really like to live with kidney disease from the Kidney Alliance DVD “living with kidney disease” which can be ordered from the website . I hope that this DVD will be available to any person with kidney disease.

Evan Harris (MP for Oxford West and Abingdon) spoke eloquently about the policy context , reminding us that the Renal NSF was the first without targets and the need therefore to measure the achievement of its vision very carefully. The wishes in the National Kidney Federation time capsule that he sealed and that will be reopened in 2013 will provide that scrutiny. We also of course have other informative metrics by which to judge progress – pre-emptive transplant listing rates, vascular access and MRSA rates but we do need more and these need to cover all the patient pathways.

Many Peers and Parliamentarians in addition to patients, carers, live donors and representatives from the whole kidney care multiprofessional team attended. It was a good mix to raise the awareness of kidney disease as a major public health issue for our population.

Food at the event was provided by Lawrence Keogh, celebrity chef from Roast in Borough Market. Lawrence, who is also a transplant recipient, had spent the morning on radio with Paul Stevens (President of the British Renal Society) and Fiona talking about and answering questions on kidney disease.