A toolkit to help GPs improve kidney treatment in the community is being developed for the Royal College of General Physicians (RCGP) by a team of collaborators.

The aim is to help improve the early recognition of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) – sudden damage which causes kidneys to cease functioning properly - and bring together post-AKI care across primary and secondary.

Dr Jonathan Murray at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust, programme lead of the AKI Programme, said: “Early detection of AKI is important because its presence often indicates a patient’s overall clinical state is deteriorating.  A delay in recognising AKI and prompt management of the underlying illness can thus represent a patient safety risk.”

Usually occurring as a complication of another serious illness, AKI is present in about 20% of all UK emergency hospital admissions, ranging from minor loss of function to complete kidney failure, and is associated with worse outcomes for patients.

AKI is a useful marker of patient safety. Most cases begin prior to hospital, so getting GPs to identify problems early should pay dividends. Many patients are at risk simply by becoming unwell, and there are potential complications in providing holistic care – such as restarting a drugs regimen which needed to be suspended at the time of acute illness.

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), NIHR CLAHRC Greater Manchester, the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSSAHSN) and the UK Renal Registry are putting together the resource, which will be launched early next year and available via the RCGP website.

The contributors hope to use experiences of partnering with GP and practice teams to ensure that there is a nuts-and-bolts approach to the toolkit, whose purpose will be to improve the recognition, response and management of AKI in primary care – including onward patient care following an AKI episode.

The AHSN NENC has already worked on training secondary care HCPs to identify and respond to AKI, focusing on supporting GPs response to AKI alerts in the community.