HSE National Renal Office marks World Kidney Day on Thursday, 11th March 2021 

This year, World Kidney Day takes place on Thursday 11th March, themed ‘Kidney Health for Everyone, Everywhere – Living Well with Kidney Disease.

To mark the day, the HSE National Renal Office (NRO) is highlighting the supports it has put in place for renal patients through the enhanced provision of Home Dialysis therapy which has helped keep them safe from COVID-19.

The HSE National Renal Office responded to the pandemic to protect patients with severe kidney disease who are considered to be very high risk by developing and implementing a range of new COVID protocols. New Protocols include enhanced patient transport and upgraded infections control policies.

Professor George Mellotte, HSE National Clinical Lead Renal Services and Consultant Nephrologist at TUH explains, “During the pandemic renal services had to respond quickly. We adapted by creating new ways to help avoid hospital based dialysis where possible and also to protect patients who could only receive their dialysis in hospital settings.  By engaging with internal HSE stakeholders, we ensured that Dialysis patients, kidney transplant patients and patients with kidney function 15% of predicted are now included in Group 4 on the COVID-19 priority vaccination list with vaccinations due to commence shortly.

“Significant investment in Home Dialysis therapy meant the number of new patients opting to choosing home dialysis therapy increased by 10%.  This means these patients avoid unnecessary travelling to and from hospital for treatment and the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in a hospital setting. This reduced the number of patient hospital visits by 3,700 nationally in 2020.

For our patients, home dialysis has improved their quality of life while providing patients with flexibility and more control over their own care and also protected them during the pandemic.”

Due to these timely measures implemented by the HSE (NRO), a very low number of home dialysis patients contracted COVID 19 since the outbreak of the pandemic with no fatalities among this cohort. 

In 2020, a new dialysis facility called the Vartry Unit opened in Tallaght University Hospital during the pandemic.  The unit with larger capacity will provide a patient centred environment in a state of the art facility for our patients receiving their life saving treatment. 

Being diagnosed with kidney disease can be a huge challenge, both for the patient and those people around them. This diagnosis and its management, particularly in advanced stages of kidney disease, impacts severely upon the patient’s  life by reducing their, and that of family and friends, ability to participate in everyday activities like work, travel and socialising whilst causing numerous problematic side effects  – e.g. fatigue, pain, depression, cognitive impairment, gastrointestinal problems and sleep problems. 

In Ireland, 400,000 people are at risk of kidney disease.  It is projected to become the 5th leading cause of premature death globally by 2040. One in eight people aged over 50 in Ireland have Chronic Kidney disease.

Chronic Kidney disease is easily detected by a simple blood test by your GP.

It is also preventable with interventions which include early check-ups, blood pressure medication and blood sugar control. 

The NRO has provided patient orientated medical information relevant for renal patients on COVID 19 at hse.ie.



Issued by HSE National Press Office



Notes to Editors:
Professor George Mellotte, HSE National Clinical Lead Renal Services and patients on dialysis as outlined below are available for interview.  Please contact press@hse.ie to arrange.

John Semple (66) from Firhouse, married to Margaret for 38 years, retired. John was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2007 and a year later was on the transplant list. In 2009 he had the kidney transplant which lasted 8 and a half years, and in 2017 he was back on dialysis. He is  now doing APD (automated peritoneal dialysis) home dialysis every night for 8 hours.  John says “It gives me freedom during the day and I don’t have to do into hospital for dialysis.  I can go away for a few days in normal times and do dialysis in the hotel.”  

In 2018 John was diagnosed with prostate cancer and his treatment has gone well but unfortunately   he cannot have another transplant as a result. He says, “For the rest of my days I will be on dialysis and hopefully I can stay on the home dialysis for as long as possible.  So far, so good, doing home dialysis every night.” 

He says, “I am high risk for Covid, one in four people on dialysis is at high risk of dying from Covid so I’m glad I can do my dialysis at home.  My machine broadcasts my output to the team of nurses in the renal unit in Tallaght.  You can always call one of the team of nurses and it’s nice to know they’re there.”

Niall Kennedy (51) from Wexford is a clinical nurse specialist in respiratory at Wexford General Hospital. 
Niall was diagnosed with Polycystic kidney disease which led to kidney failure last year so one kidney was removed and he started dialysis.  Niall has been doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) at home every night for 8 hours since February 2020 instead of travelling to Tallaght University Hospital 3 or 4 times a week for treatment and is on the transplant list.  He says, “I can get on with my life and do most of the things I like to do because of the home dialysis.  Even though I’ve had the vaccine as a frontline healthcare worker, I am still considered medically vulnerable so am working at home supporting my colleagues in the delivery of care in the intensive care and respiratory units at the moment.”

Philp Corcoran (50)from Tallaght and dad to Jessica (6th year) and Isabel (5th class) so kept busy now that he’s back doing the school run again.  Philip became dehydrated when 3 weeks old causing damage to his left kidney which was removed when he was six.  At 23 he required dialysis for six months and then got a kidney transplant.  In 2003 he was in a motorbike accident on his way to work which damaged the transplant kidney and in 2005 ended back on dialysis, 3 days a week for 4 hours per session in hospital. 

Philip says “Home Dialysis means I’ve no restrictions on diet and fluid intake.  I do my dialysis nocturnally so do it over eight hours overnight three days a week which give me a lot more freedom during the day. My bloods are all good once I do my dialysis. 

Celebrate World Kidney Day and Follow the 8 Golden Rules!
On February 8, WKD launched #MyGr8Rule challenge as a symbolic gesture to remember that kidneys are vital organs and that they should be taken care of.

This action urges everyone around the globe, from all cultures and ages, to look after their kidneys and prevent kidney disease.

How to participate in the #MyGr8Rule challenge:
Complete one or more of the 8 golden rules of keeping kidneys healthy and preventing kidney disease such as keeping active, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet etc.

Further information regarding World Kidney day is available at https://www.worldkidneyday.org/2021-campaign/2021-wkd-theme/