The National Kidney Federation (NKF) is a charity run by kidney patients, for kidney patients. Believing that all kidney patients and their loved ones are entitled to lead fulfilling lives with quality care and choice, they campaign for improvements to renal provision, treatments and patient support services.
How the National Kidney Federation Started
Most renal care units are supported by independent charities, each known as a Kidney Patient Association (KPA). In 1979, it became apparent that these charities were overstretched and under resourced, creating the need for a national organisation. These KPAs came together to create the National Kidney Federation, currently with 59 of them acting as the eyes and ears of the organisation. Aside from just six members of staff, all personnel in the NKF are kidney patients or carers of kidney patients.
What Does the National Kidney Federation Do?
The NKF has only two roles. This is to campaign for improved renal provision and treatments, and national patient support services.
The NKF is responsible for establishing an All Party Parliamentary Kidney Group (APPKG) in Parliament, consisting of over 100 MPs and Lords. The goal of this group is to improve the understanding of kidney disease and transplant medicine within Parliament, along with promoting improvements to the health services available for those with renal failure.
Patient Support Services
The charity’s website has rapidly become the heart of the renal community, visited worldwide by over 1 million patients, carers and professionals every single year. The site allows patients to obtain information on their condition while putting them in touch with others, as well as giving medical professionals in the field the chance to talk to each other and patients about issues and concerns.
In addition, the NKF runs a free National Kidney Patient Helpline. This gets around 200 calls a week from patients, carers and professionals within the healthcare field. They are also the largest provider of renal leaflets in the UK, with information on thousands of different areas. This includes medical information on dialysis, transplants and living donors, as well as advice on living with kidney disease including exercise, diets, travel, and sexual relationships.
With a large number of kidney patients coming from different ethnic backgrounds, this can lead to difficulties such as translation of information, donor shortages and cultural views of organ transplants. The National Kidney Federation aims to form close relationships with fellow kidney charities so that all resources are effectively used and all ethnic backgrounds are supported. In addition, the charity aims to provide further strength to Kidney Patient Associations in order to help maintain their local services. Their current #KidneysMatter campaign aims to demonstrate the importance of our kidneys, and to educate people on how to keep them healthy to reduce their risk of kidney disease. When it comes to renal disease, early detection and treatment leads to better outcomes for the patient. The NKF are aware of this and want to ensure that high risk groups are identified to reduce the possibility of patients entering end stage renal failure. With around 61,000 end stage renal failure patients in the UK, the charity’s passion is to see real improvements to the health care provision for them over the coming years.
How You Can Support the National Kidney Federation
The NKF exists solely through the generosity of their supporters and sponsors. They raise money from the public and their work is supported by renal industries within the UK. Donations from the public will allow the charity to continue providing the vital support for kidney patients and their loved ones across the UK.
The 12th March 2020 is World Kidney Day, which is why we’ve nominated the NKF to be one of this month’s charities taking part in our poll. Cast your vote for this amazing charity today and help them continue to provide guidance and support to patients facing kidney disease.
Find out more about the National Kidney Federation, along with how you can donate, by visiting their website.