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Health: Kidney patients dying needlessly

At least 500 patients are dying unnecessarily of kidney failure each year because there are too few kidney machines to go round.

A report by the Renal Association published today says that although the number of transplants compares well with other countries "the uptake of dialysis facilities remains well below the desirable level". It says 80 new patients a year per million population need treatment but a health department report in 1996 found only 69.3 per million were getting it and in some districts the figure fell to 40. It says pressure on clinics is leading to "clinical compromise" with patients being given dialysis only twice a week, so more can be accommodated, instead of the more usual three.