By Bill Peckham
RenalWEB links to some exciting dialysis news out of the UK. Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party will promise a "personalised" revolution in health and social care in an upcoming speech. Aside from the possibility Brown won't win the election to retain his Prime Ministership this suggests that home hemodialysis (HHD) will become more widely available in the UK.
I was recently discussing what I thought it would take to get more people on HHD in England and I went through the usual suspects: the need to explain the benefits of HHD to dialyzors and their docs, over coming dialyzor needle fears and nephrologist's inertia, but I failed to mention that it would be very helpful if the Prime Minister identified HHD as a national priority:
Addressing an audience at health think-tank The King's Fund, Mr Brown will pledge a broad reform of community healthcare, giving people the option of chemotherapy and dialysis without having to travel to a clinic or hospital.
It would also be easier to access palliative care and care for the elderly at home.
Committing to ensure that within the next five years 1.6 million cancer sufferers have access to one-to-one nursing care in their homes, Mr Brown is to say: "When faced with the fears and uncertainties of a serious illness, dedicated nursing, such as that provided by Macmillan nurses, has the potential to transform the experience of care for the patient and their family too.
"Not just improving the outcomes of care, but helping them to understand their choices and options.
The timing of this is ideal.
NxStage has recently announced a partnership to provide the System One to dialyzors in the UK. Their goal is to increase the number of NHS dialysis patients on HHD to over 10%, from currently 2%. Before this announcement I was thinking it would take a lot of leg work to reach the 10% threshold, but now it sounds like the challenge will be keeping up with demand. That's a good problem for NxStage to have.