This 1-year prospective survey assessed the incidence and characteristics of all patients starting renal replacement therapy (RRT) for end-stage renal disease in Scotland, and whether there is equity of utilization of RRT in terms of age, domicile and social circumstance. In the year studied, 104 patients per million population (533 patients) started RRT (390 per million population aged 65-75). In 23.5% the cause of ESRD could not be determined. Diabetes was the single most frequently identified cause (16%). The requirement for RRT rose with age, but over the country as a whole, patients aged over 75 years were under-represented. The majority of health boards provided RRT at a rate within 20% of the national rate. There was no difference in the median age at starting RRT between health boards. The spectrum of social deprivation of patients starting RRT was the same as that of the general population. There was no evidence that social deprivation influences acceptance on to the RRT program, although the relationship between ESRD and deprivation is complex. The utilization of RRT exceeded the minimum rate recommended by the Renal Association, although there was fluctuation between health board areas. The national requirement for resources to provide RRT is likely to rise further to care for an increasingly elderly population.
- health inequalities