Kidney Health Week, 26 May–1 June

29 May 2013

One in three Australians is at increased risk of developing kidney disease and one in nine adults has some sign of kidney disease. It kills more people than breast or prostate cancer and more than twice as many as die on our roads every year. And its incidence is rising.

People living in remote and very remote areas of Australia have much higher rates of end-stage kidney disease than their metropolitan counterparts, and sadly this is particularly so for younger age groups. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are treated for kidney disease at six times the rate of the rest of the Australian population. For people in remote areas there are much longer distances to travel for dialysis, which contributes to increased mortality.

In launching Kidney Health Week at Parliament House on Monday, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced the addition of a kidney function test under the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) diabetes incentive. This initiative, to take effect in October this year, will assist GPs to identify chronic kidney disease earlier in patients with diabetes.

Adults at high risk of kidney disease are older people and those with diabetes who have high blood pressure, are obese, are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, are a smoker, have a family history of kidney disease and/or have established heart problems.

People in rural and remote Australia are at higher risk of kidney disease because of their greater representation in these high risk population groups. The health gains through the new incentive will depend on people having access to a GP.

At the launch of Kidney Health Week, Shadow Minister Peter Dutton confirmed bipartisan support for the Government’s new initiative.

Further information and advice about kidney disease can be found on the Kidney Health Australia website at www.kidney.org.au or from the Kidney Health Information Service free call at 1800 454 3639.

A Fact Sheet on kidney disease in rural Australia is on the website at www.ruralhealth.org.au

Contact: Professor Lesley Barclay - Chair: 0412 282 801