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Transplants revamp to aid hospitals


16 January, 2008  

Dedicated organ transplant teams need to work together 24 hours a day to help hospitals treat patients, a new report claims.

The Organ Donation Taskforce said the measure will speed up the system, and that the number of transplant coordinators must be doubled to around 200.

It added that the move could see a 50% rise in organ donation in the UK within five years.

But the issue of presumed consent has not been considered by the body. A separate committee is looking into this matter and will report back in the summer.

The new research claims transplant coordinators should be employed centrally by the NHS Blood and Transplant body, rather than individual trusts.

It says: “At the moment, teams vary in size, composition and level of experience, their funding comes from various sources and is often obscure.

“Few members of the team are available specifically for organ retrieval with most having other clinical commitments that limit their ability to respond quickly.

“The teams all rely on significant help from the donor hospital.

“Changes to consultant contracts and the effects of the European Working Time Directive will further erode their viability.

“In addition, few teams are able to provide early expert assistance to donor hospitals in donor management, and this adversely affects the number and quality of organs removed.”

More than 8,000 people in the UK currently need an organ transplant, and this figure is rising by about 8% a year.

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NHS Blood and Transplant