Underserved communities and remote kidney care

Study background

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients with a kidney condition had their appointments with their doctor or nurse carried out by telephone or by video call (remote care). Although this was seen to be a good idea for some people, others found it more difficult.

For example, people with learning disabilities, those with mental health conditions and those who are not fluent in English may have come across problems when not seeing their doctor or nurse face-to-face. These groups are sometimes called underserved communities.

Read more about the background of the study here (PDF File 1,505 KB).

What are underserved communities?

Underserved communities have certain similarities such as high use of healthcare services and important differences in how they respond to or engage with healthcare services.

Our project is interested in working with underserved communities to understand what problems these groups face when having telephone or video calls.

What are the aims of the project?

This project will:

  1. Understand the experiences of people with a kidney condition who are from underserved groups who have had telephone or video call appointments.
  2. Explore the perceptions and experiences of staff working in kidney care who have carried out appointments by telephone or video call.

What is the vision?

Our results will be used to:

  1. Find what works best in delivering appointments by phone or video call.
  2. Make recommendations for staff working in kidney care.
  3. Develop a training resource (Toolkit) for both staff and patients to improve the experiences of remote care.

Who is funding the project?

The project is being funded by Kidney Care UK.

Kidney Care UK

One-to-one interviews or group discussions

We will conduct interviews or group discussions among underserved groups to understand the perceptions and experiences with remote kidney clinics.

Persons living with a kidney condition and fall within either of the following groups will be invited to take part in the study (PDF File 65 KB):

If you are living with a kidney condition, would you like to take part in the project?

If you decide to take part, you will be contacted by Patricia Tum from the London South Bank University to arrange a time for you to take part in either a focus group or interview that will take place in-person or online, depending on what you feel most comfortable with. Focus groups will take around 60 minutes and interviews will last around 30 minutes.

To take part, we ask that you:

  1. Read about the study here (PDF File 65 KB)
  2. Find the posters here (PDF File 908 KB)

Staff surveys

Staff surveys will also be conducted to understand their perspectives and experiences in delivering remote care. If you are a health care professional working in kidney care (advanced kidney care, dialysis, transplantation or supportive care) you are eligible to take part. The survey can be found here.

Toolkit development

The findings from this research will be used to develop a training Toolkit for both staff and patients to improve the experiences of remote care.

Prof Nicola Thomas

Prof. Nicola Thomas

Chief Investigator

Nicola is Professor of Kidney Care at London South Bank University. She is also honorary nurse consultant in the renal unit at Barts Health NHS Trust. Nicola has worked within the renal speciality for all her career and has extensive clinical, teaching and research experience. Her clinical and research work has focused on prevention and self-management of kidney disease, with a specific interest in health inequalities.

Patricia Tum

Patricia Tum

Research Assistant

Patricia is a global health researcher and Public Health and Policy MSc graduate of Queen Mary University of London. Her research interests have two broad areas of enquiry: social and psychosocial determinants of migrant and ethnic groups health and barriers to access and provision of equitable health.


Dr. Joyti Baharani

Gavin Dreyer

Chipiliro Kalebe-Nyamongo

Fez Awan

Martin Wilkie

Emma Coyne