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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Patient transplant investigation

12th March 2009

A top-level inquiry has been ordered into NHS organ transplant arrangements for EU residents.

heart surgery

Data suggests that over the past 10 years, some 795 transplants have been carried out by the NHS on non-UK patients.

The findings have raised questions over whether transplant centres were right to grant these procedures, which included 674 liver and 47 kidney transplants.

The review by Elisabeth Buggins, who last year led the Organ Donation Taskforce into the issue of presumed consent, will endeavour to clarify the situation over the rights of EU citizens to get NHS transplants.

Under European law, EU patients have the same access to services as UK patients, however it remains unclear how this relates to transplant surgery.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the figures had led to accusations of priority being given to non-UK patients but added: "We want to optimise the availability of organs for transplant for NHS patients and ensure public confidence in the fairness and transparency of the organ allocation system in the UK."

Ms Buggins said: "It is important to be able to build the confidence of the public in the integrity of the systems that determine how precious donated organs are allocated to individual patients, and to provide clear guidance to the transplant community."

The review has been welcomed by the NHS Blood and Transplant and the British Medical Association, which said above all, transplant should take place on clinical need.

The Patients Association has received calls to its helpline from people are concerned that non-UK people are getting transplants ahead of them.


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