Kidney Health Week and a New Reason to Test for Kidney Function

Kidney Health Week and a New Reason to Test for Kidney Function

28 May 2013

At the launch of national Kidney Health Week today, the Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Shayne Neumann, announced that a kidney function test will be added to the minimum requirements of the annual cycle of care under the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) diabetes incentive to encourage GPs to identify chronic kidney disease in patients with diabetes earlier.

Chronic kidney disease is a major health problem that is thought to affect around one in seven Australians, although the exact number is unknown as many people remain undiagnosed, Ms Plibersek said.

While the condition is genetic for some people, for many others the risks can be significantly reduced by eating a nutritional diet, by not becoming overweight or obese, and by exercising regularly and not smoking.

People with type 2 diabetes are at a particularly high risk of chronic kidney disease.

Because of this risk, a kidney function test will be added to the minimum requirements of the annual cycle of care under the PIP diabetes incentive to encourage general practitioners to identify chronic kidney disease in patients with diabetes earlier.

Through the PIP diabetes incentive, payments are given to general practitioners that complete an annual cycle of care to support patients with diabetes. This includes eye examinations, body mass and blood glucose monitoring, self-care education and reviews of diet, smoking and physical activity.

The new kidney function test will be added to the program from October and general practices will be notified of the changes shortly.

From 1 July, the Australian Government will also support the nations generous living organ donorsthe majority of whom donate kidneys to people with chronic kidney diseasethrough paid leave arrangements.

The Australian Government will provide living donors, through their employers, with up to six weeks paid leave at up to the national minimum wage rate. This will help to reduce any financial stress that the surgery and recovery may put on them, their families and their employers, Mr Neumann said.

We encourage employers to top up the paid leave to the donors regular income level, and to consider formalising living organ donor leave arrangements within their organisations to support these wonderful Australians.

More than 280 generous living organ donors make an incredibly generous gift of their organs each year, he said.

Kidney Health Week starts today and is an initiative of Kidney Health Australiaa not-for-profit organisation that has promoted the importance of kidney health for almost 45 years.