Fifty per cent increase in organ donation possible in 5 years

The UK Department of Health announced it would back the recommendations of the Organ Donation Taskforce, which could see a 50 per cent increase in organ donation in the UK within five years – resulting in an additional 1,200 transplants a year and saving thousands of lives.

The Organ Donation Taskforce, set up to examine how organ donation and transplant rates can be improved, published its report ‘Organs for Transplants’. Currently, more than 8,000 people in the UK need an organ transplant, rising by about 8% a year.

The report proposes a radical shift from existing arrangements, recommending the recruitment of around 100 extra donor transplant coordinators to work with hospitals and guide and support bereaved families through the donation process. These extra front line staff and existing coordinators would, after consultation with the relevant parties, be employed centrally by NHS Blood and Transplant rather than individual Trusts, which would mean an end to varied employment, and training practices across the country. Together with other measures to improve donor coordination services this could result in a 10% increase in the consent rate for donation.

In addition, a new strengthened network of dedicated organ retrieval teams would also be established and be available 24 hours a day, working closely with the critical care teams in hospital to retrieve safe high quality organs for transplant across the UK.

The UK Government confirmed ?11 million of funding to support the recommendations in the report next year with more to follow. Improving organ donation not only saves lives but also saves valuable resources. The average cost for dialysis is approximately ?25,300 pa compared with an initial cost of ?45,900 for a transplant followed by annual maintenance costs of ?7,100 pa. Over the next 10 years we expect that there could be about an extra 5,400 kidney transplants. This could give NHS savings of over ?500 million.

Source: Department of Health, UK, UK

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