About this release

This is the first release by Public Health Scotland on data from the Scottish Renal Registry (SRR) relating to patients who are receiving Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT) for end stage renal disease (ESRD) with a positive test of COVID-19.

Main points

As at 31 May 2020

  • During the period 01 March 2020 to 31 May 2020 a total of 110 patients receiving RRT in Scotland had a positive COVID-19 test. This represents 2% of the total RRT population in Scotland.
  • The peak period of positive COVID-19 tests among RRT patients was between week beginning 30 March 2020 and 06 April 2020.
Image caption Number of patients on RRT who tested positive for COVID-19
Bar chart that shows the number of patients on RRT who tested positive for COVID-19 from 2nd March to 25th May. The peak was at 30th March with 29 patients testing positive and the numbers have dropped since then.
  • The highest number of positive COVID-19 tests was among patients receiving haemodialysis, those aged between 44-74 and those living in more socially deprived areas.
  • As of 31 May 2020, 31 patients on RRT had died after a confirmed positive COVID-19 test (28.2% of those testing positive).
  • Survival at 30- days after the first positive COVID-19 test was estimated as 78%.


The Scottish Renal Registry is a national registry of all patients in Scotland receiving Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT), including haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and transplants, for end stage renal disease (ESRD). It was established in 1991 with data backfilled to 1960 from the European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA) with the first patient dialysed for ESRD in Scotland in 1960.

Patients who are receiving dialysis or have a kidney transplant are a vulnerable population. Patients receiving dialysis are generally older with other health conditions. The majority of these patients require to attend a healthcare facility on a regular basis, which further increases their risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Patients who have a kidney transplant are presumed to be at high risk as they have a suppressed immune system from the medications they are on for their transplant.

The first case of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Scotland was confirmed on the 1st March 2020. On the 24th March, as part of the Scottish Government response to the pandemic, certain groups of patients were identified as the most vulnerable to developing severe illness and advised to “shield”. This meant that these groups of patients were advised to remain at home and minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household. This category included the renal transplant population from the outset and latterly all dialysis patients were added. This posed significant challenges to renal units across the country in delivering care to these patients whilst minimising risk of exposure and preventing transmission of infection to these vulnerable patient groups.

Further information

Further information is available from the SRR website (external website) and from the full report.

The next release of this publication will be on an ad hoc basis.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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