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Kidney Machines

Volume 982: debated on Monday 31 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current cost of a kidney machine; how many were installed in National Health Service hospitals in each of the last five years; at what cost; and what is his estimate of the shortfall in their number to service current needs.

The capital cost of a kidney machine is between £4,500 and £6,000. Information is not collected centrally on the total number or cost of kidney machines installed in National Health Service hospitals or on the shortfall in their numbers. However the number of patients being treated on kidney machines in NHS hospitals in England for the last five years for which figures are available are as follows:

1974 (30 June)579
1975 (30 June)598
1976 (30 June)619
1977 (30 June)662
1977 (31 December)747
1978 (31 December)847
In 1978, about 20 patients per million population started treatment by dialysis at hospital or home or by transplantation compared with an estimated need of 40 per million.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update the answer to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr, of 13 June 1979, Official Report, columns 247–8, showing how many of the 400 extra kidney machines promised in the Budget Statement of 11 April 1978 for the year 1979 had been made available for patients at the latest convenient date.

As I said in my reply to the hon. Member on 13 June 1979, in 1978–79 authorities spent about half of the additional resources for the expansion of renal services arising from the 1978 budget; resources equivalent to the remainder were set aside in 1979–80 but I do not yet know how much has been spent. Figures for the number of new patients admitted to treatment for chronic renal failure in England in 1979 are not yet available.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many deaths occurred in 1979 because of kidney failure; and whether he will make a statement on the availability of kidney machines and personnel to operate them.

The number of deaths from kidney failure in 1979 is not yet known but in 1978 in England 5,858 deaths were attributed to diagnoses commonly leading to kidney failure (ICD 580–584, 590–593) of whom 1,234 were at ages under sixty-five. It is estimated that about 40 new patients per million population need to start treatment (by dialysis or transplant) each year for chronic renal failure. In 1978 in England about 20 new patients per million started treatment.However United Kingdom treatment rates in 1978 for patients up to 45 years of age were in line with Western European rates. It is in the older age groups that the shortfall mainly lies. Very few patients aged 65 and over are at present accepted for treatment and the results are, on average, less good than for younger patients. Renal services cannot be exempted from the general economic situation or from the need to keep within cash limits.Priorities locally are a matter for individual health authorities. The previous Government allocated additional central funds to increase dialysis facilities including the development of minimal care units. We are continuing with these and, together with our measures to improve the supply of kidneys, they should help to improve the situation.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many people are at present using kidney machines in the United Kingdom; if he is satisfied with the number of staff available to operate these machines; and how many new machines will come into operation in the current year;(2) how many people have used kidney machines over the last five years; and how many qualified staff have been trained over the same period for the operating of kidney machines.

The numbers of people using kidney machines in the United Kingdom in the year 1974–1978 (the latest date for which figures are available) were as follows:

1974(31 December)1990
1975(31 December)2234
1976(31 December)2473
1977(31 December)2692
1978(31 December)2893
Information on the total number of new kidney machines which will come into operation in the current year is not collected centrally. On the operation of staffing I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short) on 26 March. [Vol. 981, c.

606.]