British Renal Society

British Renal Society

British Renal Society



Paul Stevens


The British Renal Society began as The British Renal Symposium in 1989 to promote formal dialogue between the many specialist groups supporting professionals involved in the care of patients with kidney disease and facilitating multi-disciplinary training and continuous professional development. It soon became apparent that such a strong multi-professional input could be of major benefit to the future development of kidney care, by exerting influence at a number of levels including the advancement of the evidence base, the commissioning process, and the formulation of policy. As a result the British Renal Society was formed in 2001, becoming a registered charity the following year. The Society’s core aims were:

  •  The promotion of effective patient-centred multi professional care to improve quality of life for people with kidney failure, their families and carers
  • The advancement of education in kidney disease and kidney replacement therapy in the UK
  • The funding and support of multi-professional research into kidney disease and its management

The goal was to bring together all those with a role in the promotion and delivery of effective, patient-centred care. Members of associations affiliated to the BRS represented every aspect of patient care, from diagnosis and treatment through to social welfare and community support. The important role played by industry partners was also recognised. The affiliates of BRS included:

Anaemia Nurse Specialist Association

Association of Renal Industries

Association of Renal Managers

Association of Renal Technologists

British Association of Social Workers, Renal Special Interest Group

British Dietetic Association, Renal Nutrition Group

British Association for Paediatric Nephrology

British Transplant Society

European Dialysis and Transplant Nurses Association/European Renal Care Association

National Kidney Federation (Patients & carers)

Royal College of Nurses Nephrology Nursing Forum

Renal Pharmacy Group

Society for District General Hospital Nephrologists

The Renal Association (Physicians & Scientists)

The Renal Psychological Services Group

UK Transplant Coordinators Association


From 1989 through to its merger with the Renal Association to form the UKKA the BRS held an annual conference for renal professionals with oral and poster presentations, debates and guest lectures from international experts. Beneficiaries of BRS grant awards reported back formally at conference, highlighting improved patient care.  The event was the largest of its kind in the UK and attracted delegates from all the disciplines involved in kidney care. From 2006 onwards the BRS began to hold joint conferences with the Renal Association, affording delegates significantly improved opportunities for their continuing professional development and paving the way for the future merger of the 2 organisations.

The BRS provided important multidisciplinary input to informing the development of the National Service Framework for Renal Services and other national initiatives. The BRS led the National Renal Workforce Planning Group (2002), leading to the publication of “The Renal Team: A multi-professional renal workforce plan for adults and children with renal disease”. This was a major contribution to workforce planning in a specialty, the first of its kind in the UK, defining the manpower skills, competencies and resources required in the provision of renal services. The BRS also led the renal community in the preparation of “Multi-professional criteria for monitoring the implementation of the National Service Framework for Renal Services”, effectively a forerunner for subsequent NICE Quality Standards in Kidney Disease.  The ‘Criteria for Success’ tool allowed renal units to audit their facilities, services and outcomes as they related to the NSF standards and quality requirements, turning the aspirations of the NSF into tangible improvements in service provision and patient experience. The BRS also led the production of patient information information videos (Living with kidney disease) and contributed to implementation of national automated kidney function reporting and introduction of kidney indicators in the primary care quality and outcomes framework.


The BRS Research Committee was convened in March 2001 with the aim of promoting multi-professional and multi-centred clinical research into kidney disease in the UK. At the time much of the research funding in kidney disease was channelled into basic research, undertaken by doctors and scientists. The BRS programme sought to focus on smaller projects with direct relevance to the immediate needs of patients and to the delivery of care by the multi-professional team. Obtaining funding for research of this nature had historically been particularly difficult and contributing to providing for a real and otherwise unmet need helped close a significant gap. Such projects included poorly studied areas at the time such as exercise in dialysis patients, unmet need in chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular consequences of kidney disease and kidney failure, dialysis vascular access, quality of life studies, and psychosocial aspects of transplantation in adolescence. All of these initiatives involved collaborations between many disciplines including nurses, physicians, surgeons, dieticians, social workers, counsellors, psychologists, and clinical scientists. Filling these gaps in research funding also afforded training in research techniques that had hitherto been particularly limited in availability to non-medical disciplines.




Chairs of the British Renal Symposium (1989-2001)

Campbell Mackenzie

Netar Mallick

Roger Greenwood

Donal O’Donoghue


Presidents of the British Renal Society  (2001-2021)

Donal O’Donoghue

Steve Smith

Paul Stevens

Jane MacDonald

Richard Fluck

Simon Ball

Maarten Taal

Sharlene Greenwood


Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by John Feehally