Plans to transform organ donation

Plans aimed at transforming more lives through living kidney donation and transplantation have been revealed.

Increasing patient choice and more opportunities for donation are key aims of the first UK Strategy for Living Donor Kidney Transplantation launched recently by NHS Blood and Transplant.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said: “Donated organs save lives. You can save someone’s life today.

“These plans will build on our already successful living donor programme. It will help donors and recipients plan ahead, but most importantly it will lead to more successful transplants.

“We are working closely with NHS Blood and Transplant to help make sure we have robust commissioning arrangements in place so the number of living donors can continue to grow.”

Living donor kidney transplants have increased three-fold in the past 10 years (1 April 2000-31 March 2010) and are highly successful with 93 per cent of living kidney transplants still functioning well after the first year compared with 88 per cent of those using deceased donor kidneys.

Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHSBT, said: “Living kidney donation currently helps to transform around three patients’ lives every day in the UK and this strategy will enable even more lives to be saved.

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“Living kidney transplantation is a highly successful, well managed and regulated procedure and these plans will continue to promote the highest standards of donor safety and welfare, as well as increasing the number of transplants taking place.”

The introduction of the Human Tissue Act 2004 and the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006, allowed additional forms of living donation including paired and pooled donation, and altruistic non-directed donation which have steadily grown in popularity.

Before then, living donation was limited to exchanges between family members and life-long friends but added options for patients and clinical advances have helped increase living donation, and one in three of all organ transplants in the UK are now from a living donor.