Dialysis Care Outcomes — [Sir George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 19th May 2022.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 4:00 pm, 19th May 2022

I thank all hon. Members who have spoken, and I thank the kidney charities that the Minister and everybody else referred to very much for what they have done.

Margaret Ferrier made some very pertinent points about depression, mental health and the psychological impact that dialysis treatment has on people. The Minister very kindly referred to that in her response, and she outlined the case.

Kenny MacAskill referred to the travel costs of taking children to the few centres, and he talked about the impact that has on families. He said that dialysis patients have higher levels of treatment. He also referred to prepayment meters, which can prevent people from accessing home dialysis treatment to start with. I know that is not the Minister’s responsibility, but the hon. Gentleman highlights an issue. We all know the Minister is very thorough, and that she will pass on the issues that have been brought up but are not her responsibility to the relevant Departments.

The shadow Minister referred to the two kidney patients she met yesterday. She also thanked the charities and referred to the 3.1 million people living with kidney disease in the United Kingdom. As we all did, she underlined the need for equal treatment, access and cost reimbursement across the whole of the United Kingdom.

I thank the Minister very much for her comprehensive, detailed response to the issues. She referred to the 11 renal networks and the regional care systems that feed into the transformation programme recommendations.

All hon. Members referred to rising costs. Energy tariffs are not the Minister’s responsivity, but perhaps she will be able to refer that to the right person, whoever it may be. Hon. Members also referred to proactivity and the need to reimburse people. As we were sitting here, Fiona Loud, who is in the Public Gallery, sent me a wee note that said that at least some of the people are getting their money. Perhaps people are taking note of the fact that this Westminster Hall debate is happening, because people are getting their money out—there is a commitment.

All NHS trusts must act and respond better. We need to address the reimbursement of moneys as soon as possible. The shadow Minister referred to that. It is great that the Minister and the Government are setting a target of 20% for home dialysis. We want to see that target achieved.

I welcome the chance to communicate with the Minister outside with the kidney charities, to understand better what the real problems are. We have to thank the charities for their campaigns. The reason I have knowledge is half the time because of them. Without them, none of us would be able to deliver the details, as the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West has done.

I always look forward to the future. We bring forward issues to the Minister, and then we look forward to the response. The response we have listened to today sets out a programme of events, strategies and visions for the future. We want to see things improve. We will probably regularly come back to the Minister—I hope we do not have to, but we may have to. If we do, we will do that collectively in a positive fashion. In my life, I always try to do things positively. We bring things to the Minister and say, “Here’s where the shortfalls are. Here’s where we can do better.” What we heard today from the Minister has given us some heart, hope and confidence for the future. On behalf of all kidney charities, on behalf of the patients out there and on behalf of us all, we thank the Minister. I thank you, Sir George, as always, for the excellent way you chair these debates. I appreciate it very much.