One principle of the Brazilian National Health System (SUS) is to ensure free, comprehensive and equal health care to the population; including to those with chronic kidney disease. This study aimed to examine the perspectives of people living with renal insufficiency, and those of their families, regarding the obstacles faced while on hemodialysis treatment. A qualitative inquiry was conducted in a hospital located in a city from Southern Brazil. Using a theoretical sample, 11 sick people in hemodialysis and five relatives participated. Data was gathered using open interviews; conventional content analysis was used. Participants emphasized receiving good medical care from health professionals; besides having free access to hemodialysis sessions, consultations, medication, hospitalization, exams, transportation, and even meals. Nevertheless, they faced shortages and difficulties during the process due to lack of human personnel and inputs. Under such circumstances, renal sick people with more economic resources used private medicine, consulting specialists, buying medications and practicing exams more frequently than those with fewer resources. It is concluded that such obstacles have negative effects on health care, besides accentuating social inequalities.
renal insufficiency; hemodialysis; inequalities; qualitative research; Brazil