BRADFORD'S renal unit is taking part in a ground-breaking national project to encourage kidney patients to play a more active role in their health care.

The unit, based at the city's St Luke’s Hospital, is one of 23 across the UK involved in the innovative Transforming Participation in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Programme – 'Think Kidneys'.

The programme has been established by NHS England and the UK Renal Registry, and is designed to enable clinicians and care teams to work in a 50:50 partnership with patients living with CKD and their families and carers.

The vision of the programme is to empower CKD patients to manage their condition so they can achieve personal and clinical goals that are important to them.

As a first step, CKD patients will be given a survey called the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) to fill in.

The survey has been developed and tested in the US to assess the knowledge, skills, and confidence people have in managing their own health and healthcare.

A similar survey has been developed for clinicians to assess their ability to support and manage the patient process, and the data from both surveys will be analysed by the UK Renal Registry.

A local Bradford Project Team - made up of seven champions from local kidney patient groups and seven clinicians - has been set up to roll out the project across Bradford and Airedale, working in partnership with a team from Sheffield Renal Services.

John Stoves, a consultant in Nephrology and General Medicine for the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The Bradford renal unit is keen to be part of this national initiative which encourages our patients to play a more active role in their care, recognising that patient engagement can lead to a better experience of care and better clinical outcomes.

"We hope to share our experiences with both the UK renal community and other chronic disease specialities in the trust."

Associate specialist in Renal Medicine, Dr Ramla Mumtaz, added: "PAM and related surveys will enable us to explore and establish the patient care needs, and the resulting measurements of responses will direct us to determine shared objectives in partnership with individual patients."

Peter Forrest, the patient lead for the programme in Bradford, joined consultants from St Luke's at a recent event in London to map out 30, 60, and 90-day plans for the project.

The 66 year-old, from Clayton, undergoes four hours of dialysis three times a week after suffering kidney failure in 2014.

"I try to look at the condition positively," said Mr Forrest, who still works part-time as an electrician and enjoyed a Mediterranean cruise with on-board dialysis in October last year.

"I didn't want to be sat at home just doing the dialysis and nothing else.

"The aim of the project is to get people to help themselves by saying what they need in terms of aftercare.

"It's about getting people to communicate better. If the NHS can find out what they can do to help patients, it can help them lead a better life."