CKD patients put at risk by shortfall on eGFR tests

Thousands of patients may have been put at risk, and payments to practices skewed, because of patchy availability of the chronic kidney disease (CKD) test used in the quality framework.

The eGFR test to determine the severity of a patient's CKD was added to the quality framework in 2006/7. The test boosts detection and treatment of patients at an early stage of CKD, and can pinpoint late-stage CKD patients who need dialysis, helping to cut emergency admissions.

But many laboratories had not adopted the test in time for 2006/7. GP leaders believe regional variations in availability of the test are to blame for low prevalence across the UK.

Scotland's prevalence as reported in quality data for 2006/7 is 1.8 per cent, compared with 2.2 in England and 2.3 in Northern Ireland.

GP leaders say the lower figure for Scotland is unrealistic, and reflects the slower roll-out of eGFR testing facilities compared with the rest of the UK.

National clinical director for kidney services Dr Donal O'Donogue said: 'The delay in implementing eGFR tests could explain low prevalence.'

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