The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death has found that patients who require emergency kidney treatments at hospitals are not receiving adequate care from doctors.
The report arrived at this conclusion after assessing 564 patients who died in hospitals from acute kidney injury (AKI). It found that many doctors were not competent when it came to diagnosing kidney issues, which include symptoms of blood poisoning and fluid loss.
"The majority of AKI patients were let down by clinical rather than organisational factors," said Dr James Stewart, co-author of the report, Adding Insult to Injury. "In the past specialist clinical care has rightly focused on chronic kidney disease, but this has left acute kidney injury to be managed by non-specialists."
The report found that a third of the patients who died between January and March 2007 did not have basic clinical and laboratory tests to determine the extent of kidney disease.
"It is likely this reflects deficiencies in training, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, which is of particular note considering the prevalence and clinical importance of AKI," the report said, adding that prompt treatment can take care of this issue.