Over the past few years organ donation rates have improved and waiting list times have reduced. However many people with kidney disease still have to go into a waiting list for several years for that precious kidney.
So we are pleased to see that a new initiative has been introduced, at the request of the Secretary of State for Health. This group has been asked to look at ways to improve the transplantation system and will make recommendations to all Health Ministers in the UK in 2022. Its recommendations will be informed and powered by members of our patient and clinical communities. You can have your say, through this survey which is open until 25th October.
What is ‘organ utilisation’? It’s defined by NHS Blood and Transplant as 'the action of making practical and effective use of organs from identified potential deceased donors'.
The joint statement by NHSBT and NHS England describes the background to this initiative:
“There have been significant improvements in organ donation rates over the last 10 years, with the number of organ donors increasing by 56%. The introduction of opt-out legislation in England in May 2020 is already delivering further improvements in the consent rate and is expected to lead to a further increase in donors.
Although there have also been improvements in the transplant rate, this has not kept pace with donation. Increasing age and co-morbidity of both donors and patients makes successful organ utilisation challenging.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted on the waiting list. Whilst the first wave saw fast-tracked improvements to the transplantation service, the reduction in donors and temporary closure of units has led to a 5-year high of people on the transplant waiting list.
National audits and joint NHS Blood and Transplant/British Transplantation Society summits provide strong evidence of inequalities and variation between units, which impacts on access to treatment and patient outcomes. These include local limitations on resources and access to novel technologies to support organ transplantation and increase utilisation, which varies between units. Combined, these lead to inequities in access to transplantation from geographic, socio-economic and ethnicity perspectives.
There is a need to review the organ transplantation infrastructure, to explore how the resources already available can be best utilised, to meet the needs of patients.”
Kidney Care UK is pleased both to support this initiative and to co-chair the stakeholder forum which brings together stakeholder organisations and provides a way of sharing information and updates on progress.
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