Wales Must Do Better for Its Kidney Patients

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There can be few other countries within the developed world where patients are treated in converted cupboards. And yet this is a weekly experience for many patients who require lifesaving dialysis twice, or even three times a week. Even if they are lucky not to be treated within a converted cupboard, many others spend hours hooked up to blood-cleaning machines in dilapidated portable cabins, with only one radiator for heat.

Furthermore these people - many of whom are waiting for a kidney transplant - have to travel for hours, many miles from their homes, to attend these vital dialysis sessions.

The Kidney Wales Foundation today describes the state of renal care in Wales as "Third World".

Whether the Welsh Assembly Government accepts this description or not, the state of renal care underlines exactly how far the NHS has yet to go before it can legitimately claim to be among the best in the world.

Sadly, kidney failure is not a rare event in Wales. And with more than half the adult population either obese or overweight - not to mention a generation of couch potato children - there is a very real prospect that demand for dialysis and renal care is set to grow in Wales.

If, by some miracle, Wales does not see an increase in type 2 diabetes - kidney failure is a very real complication of the condition - there are no miracle cures on the horizon for the hundreds who suffer from a wide range of kidney diseases. …