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Transplant changes needed

16th October 2006

27042006_operating_room.jpgLegislation to increase organ donations won’t succeed without a complete overhaul of the whole transplant system, says a new report.

Under the Human Tissue Act doctors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can over rule objections by next-of-kin and take organs from a dead donor card carrier. The aim is to increase lifesaving organ transplants by upholding the wishes of donor card carriers.

But the All Party Parliamentary Kidney Group (APPKG) has warned it will fail without changes to the current system, including having the staff to deal with distraught relatives who may strongly oppose removing organs from their loved ones.  This claim has been backed up by transplant surgeons themselves.

The More Transplants, Saving More Lives report also said that even if the new legislation was successful in increasing the number of organs available, there weren’t enough transplant surgeons to carry out the work, and insufficient support and laboratory services. The APPKG called for a massive increase in the number of transplant co-ordinators, from 12 to 40.

The National Kidney Federation (NKF) is supporting the report, while the new Human Tissue Authority (HTA), which was launched in September following the act, hopes public faith in the system would rise.

Currently there are 6,000 patients waiting for a kidney transplant, but in 2005 there were just 1,800 transplants carried out.

The report has also called for more work into increasing the number of suitable donors, including more donations from people whose heart has stopped beating.

The law in Scotland is covered by the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act which also came into effect on 1 September.

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