The National Kidney Federation (NKF) is the largest kidney patient association in the United Kingdom. The NKF entered the United Kingdom’s renal landscape in 1979 as a national organization when renal patients realized that individual Kidney Patient Associations (KPAs) needed to band together to have their voices heard in concert. While the current 69 KPAs remain both the ears and the eyes of the NKF, end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients or their caregivers serve as the NKF’s officers, members of its executive committee and its workforce.
NKF’s role is twofold:
To campaign for improvements in providing treatment for those with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) by keeping Parliamentarians appraised on a day-to-day basis with the information that keeps renal disease in front of Government.
To promote national kidney patient support services.
The NKF maintains a website (www.kidney.org.uk) which is viewed by more than 1,000,000 patients, caregivers, renal professionals, doctors and nurses worldwide annually. The website offers patients accurate information about renal disease, and puts them in touch with one another. It also offers kidney consultants, doctors and nurses a chance to talk with one another, and with patients.
The NKF also runs a National Kidney Patient's HELPLINE which takes about 200 calls a week from patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. It distributes its own magazine Kidney Life completely free of charge four times a year to more than 25,000 renal patients.
Once a year the NKF holds a National Conference to which more than 300 renal patients attend over a three-day period. The conference provides a platform for the NKF to listen to patients, and for patients to tell the NKF where the shortcomings are in providing renal care. Government ministers and healthcare professionals frequent the conference to hear the issues and participate in a thorough exchange of views.
The NKF is acutely aware that the earlier renal disease can be detected and treated, the better the outcome for the patient. Much effort has been put in to try to identify groups at high risk who are unaware of the danger to their health and the possibility of their entering End Stage Renal Failure.
While there clearly have been many advances in renal care since the foundation of the NKF in 1979, there is still a shortage of renal care and resources. The NKF hopes that, through their efforts, real strides will be made in providing healthcare to the current 64,000 end stage renal failure patients in the United Kingdom.