The SAIL experience

Tim Scale

I am a MD student at the Wales kidney Research Unit, based in the Swansea. I am carrying out research into acute kidney injury using the databank SAIL. SAIL stands for Secure Anonymised Information Linkage. It is a vast resource that houses patient level information for blood tests, hospital admissions, critical care admissions, primary care visits and many more. We have uploaded all the Welsh renal data into SAIL, hence the possibility of renal research using this resource is immense!

My research is part time (4 years for MD) with a fully funded (unbanded) research fellow role for 2 years, paid for by my clinical commitments. The clinical commitments are 3 clinics a week (1 peritoneal dialysis clinic and two transplant clinics) and I also help cover the nocturnal dialysis patients.   

  • Excellent research opportunity using a huge resource 
  • Ethics application is much easier due to the pseudo-anonymisation of the data used.
  • Nice break from on-calls! 
  • Opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in managing patients on home nocturnal haemodialysis which is an excellent treatment modality, not available in many renal units.
  • Can be difficult to divide time between clinical and research commitments.
  • If the dataset is not in SAIL and it is out of your control – waiting for it to get into SAIL is frustrating (however future projects will probably have all they need!!)

For more information on SAIL based research projects, contact Dr Chess on

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