Study Groups

The Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) Programme

Project lead:
Karen Thomas, AKI Programme Manager, UK Renal Registry,

Project contacts:
Teresa Wallace, AKI Programme Coordinator,
Julie Selvin, AKI Programme Development Officer,
Wendy Tomlinson, AKI Programme Development Officer,

Project length:
Two years

Project website(s):
Think Kidneys
You Tube Video
You Tube Video

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a global healthcare issue that is becoming more common. As our population lives longer and more of us live with long term conditions, healthcare becomes more complex and the incidence of AKI is increasing.

Up to one in five emergency admissions to hospital are believed to be associated with AKI (Wang et al, 2012). Up to 100,000 deaths that occur in secondary care may be associated with AKI. However 25% to 30% of AKI cases could potentially be prevented (National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) Adding Insult to Injury 2009) and if this is possible then the human and financial cost could be very significantly reduced. It is estimated that the cost to the NHS is £500 million per year (data from NHS Kidneycare 2012, now NHS Improving Quality NHS IQ). These are big numbers when you consider that many people suffer with an episode of AKI in the community before they get to hospital.

Working in partnership, the UK Renal Registry and NHS England are developing a comprehensive programme of work aimed at preventing avoidable harm from AKI over two years.

What the AKI Programme will do

The programme will lead work to develop sustainable and practical clinical tools, information and levers and will work with patients to make sure their voice is heard. It will engage commissioning pathways and other clinical networks and at the same time establish local and national data collection and audit. This will lead to further safety improvement.

Within three years the ambition is to :

  1. Provide clinicians and patients with easy to access education and information about AKI to inform and improve patient care
  2. Establish the data flows to allow successful audit and quality improvement
  3. Help commissioners and organisational leaders to drive and champion the need to improve AKI care.

How we will do this

The AKI National Programme has been set up to help healthcare professionals develop increased awareness of the impact and effect of AKI, to increase understanding of how to diagnose and treat it, to reduce the risk and incidence of AKI, suffering for patients and the burden of the cost to the NHS.

The objective of the programme is to ensure that avoidable harm related to AKI is prevented in all care settings. We will do this by:

  • Educating and supporting patients, their carers and families to help them understand the risk of AKI and preventative measures
  • Developing education and training programmes which will be made available for all healthcare professionals
  • Developing tools and interventions which can be used widely to support the prevention, early detection and the appropriate treatment of AKI and to support the patient with enhanced recovery
  • Identifying and using the most useful research on AKI – including basic science, clinical care and service delivery
  • Developing a national registry and audit mechanism for AKI leading to an improvement strategy on a national and local basis in order to reduce unnecessary variation in care
  • Ensuring that commissioners, healthcare professionals and managers are aware of the risks and impact of AKI and help them to deliver local strategies to provide high standards of care for the AKI patient, also reducing the financial burden of AKI


If you would like further information about the work being undertaken, please contact Karen Thomas at