Renal Medicine

Renal medicine concerns the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases and includes the management of:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) – moderate to severe CKD (stages 3-5) affects around 6% of the UK’s adult population, or roughly 2.6 million people.
  • Acute Kidney Disease (AKI) – it’s estimated that up to one in five patients admitted to hospital as an emergency are affected by AKI.
  • Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT) – around 56,200 patients (1,227 per million population) are currently receiving RRT in England, and the number has grown by 3% over the last year.

Over the past ten years there has been a steady annual increase in the number of patients receiving a transplant in the UK, from 2,694 in 2009/10 to 3,597 in 2018/2019. 

The GIRFT report’s 18 recommendations aim to improve equity of access to kidney transplantation, ensure faster transfer of patients with AKI and increasing rates of home therapy.

Dr William McKane

Former Clinical Lead for Renal Medicine and national report author

Dr Will McKane trained in medicine at Cambridge and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, qualifying in 1990. He undertook postgraduate renal training in St Mary’s Hospital, London and Lister Hospital, Stevenage. During his training he developed a subspecialty interest in transplant nephrology and was awarded a PhD by Imperial College, London in the field of xenotranplant immunobiology.

In 2001 he was appointed as a consultant nephrologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He was clinical director of the renal and transplant service from 2007 to 2013, and led the transplant workstream of the Yorkshire and Humber Renal Strategy Group. He remains the clinical lead for transplantation in Sheffield.

He was a member of the British Transplantation Standards Committee 2015-17.

He has been a member of the NHS England Renal Clinical Reference Group since 2013 and is currently the data lead, with responsibility for renal and transplant dashboards. He also represents the CRG in the transplant tariff development process.

Dr McKane stepped down from his GIRFT role in March 2023.

More home dialysis and equitable access to kidney transplants recommended in GIRFT renal report

Ensuring more kidney patients have the opportunity for dialysis at home, and creating greater and equitable access to kidney transplantation, are among the key measures outlined in the national report for renal medicine from the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme.

One of the key areas for improvement focuses on kidney outpatient delivery; this involved reforming outpatient clinics to improve patients’ access, including to specialist services such as vasculitis clinics and renal obstetric clinics, and to reduce face-to-face consultations where suitable.

The GIRFT report also outlines a series of ten actions to help define and deliver target vascular access rates, where the success and quality of haemodialysis (HD) care depends on creating safe, effective and long-lasting vascular access for the patient.

Find out more about GIRFT’s data-led approach and best practice resources:

In September 2021, GIRFT published its national speciality report for Renal Medicine:

Click above to view the pdf report

Watch the video about the Renal Medicine report…

Click above to play the Renal Medicine national report video