GP intervention cuts £150m off CKD care costs

Early detection and management of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in primary care could save the NHS in England £150 million a year, UK research has suggested.

Research by a team from the University of Sheffield found that early detection boosted clinical care and saved up to £470,000 per trust, before PCT numbers were cut from 303 to 152 last year.

The savings come from fewer emergency admissions and CHD events, and less need for dialysis.

The independent evaluation focused on an 18-month trial of the Optimal Renal Care programme in West Lincolnshire PCT. It began in 2005, before CKD was added to the quality framework.

Blood samples from patients attending GP surgeries in the area were assessed for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).

This found a 6 per cent prevalence of stage-three to five CKD, almost three times the rate detected since eGFR was added to the quality framework (GP, 2 March).

Patients with CKD could then opt into the programme to receive education and monitoring from renal nurses.

Report author Malcolm Whitfield, director of health policy and management at the university, said: ‘When we did the evaluation, we were surprised to see that, as well as increasing clinical outcomes, it saved money.

‘I’m sure any PCT or any GP could do similar, but the set-up costs would be high.’

Lincolnshire GP Dr Michael Eames, a partner at one of the GP practices that trialled the scheme, said: ‘It’s certainly helped us with quality framework points but it goes over and above it.’

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