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QOF results in better kidney dialysis care

By Nigel Praities

The introduction of primary care targets for chronic kidney disease has improved care for dialysis patients in hospital, say researchers.

The Northern Ireland study – presented at the British Renal Society Annual Conference earlier this month – showed improvements in the rate of late presenters in hospital were associated with the introduction of QOF.

The study followed patients presenting for dialysis at a renal service in the first two years QOF targets were introduced. The proportion of late presenters for dialysis fell from 35% of patients in April 2006 to 27% in April 2008.

Patients were also better prepared for dialysis because of this early presentation; 55% were commenced on ‘gold standard' dialysis – using an arteriovenous fistula or Moncrief–Popovich catheter – in 2006 compared with 100% in 2008.

Dr Peter Garrett, lead author and consultant nephrologist at Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Northern Ireland, said the study showed a ‘temporal association' between QOF and better treatment of patients.

‘GPs know about CKD and they know what to do when they identify it and perhaps we are getting these patients earlier and identifying those that might progress to dialysis and are prepared for that situation.

‘If they present earlier then we can plan things and possible introduce adjustments that could prevent the need to dialysis at all,' he explained.

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