The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued new guidelines which will help to prevent, detect and treat acute kidney injury (AKI).
It promises to save thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of pounds each year, largely by improving the education of healthcare workers across a wide range of specialities, raising awareness in multiple departments.
AKI is a condition which affects one in six people who are admitted to hospital and can lead to death in one in four cases, despite being a completely preventable illness.
According to the NICE guidelines, everyone from those working in renal units to chief executives and people in healthcare assistant roles would be affected by the changes.
Conservative estimates suggest that the NHS currently spends more on breast cancer, or lung cancer and skin cancer combined on treating AKI, with figures claimed to be between £434 million and £620 million.
In order to reduce the number of fatalities it is essential that medical professionals detect AKI early, thereby reducing the likelihood of the patient's condition becoming critical and kidneys shutting down.
This involves monitoring patient's kidney function, including checking hydration levels and how regular they pass urine.
Commenting on the new guidelines, Dr Mark Thomas, consultant physician and nephrologist at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the Guideline Development Group, stressed the excellent job many hospitals and healthcare professionals have been doing in detecting AKI, however more stringent guidelines would be beneficial to achieve best practice everywhere.
Dr Thomas said: "The NICE recommendations give the NHS clear advice to reduce the number of avoidable deaths through acute kidney injury.
"Trusts that already perform to an excellent standard are encouraged to share their good practice and those that have not been performing so well are encouraged to ensure that AKI is taken seriously and their staff are well trained in the prevention and detection of the condition."
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