Statements and stances
The latest statements and stances documents:
Papworth carries out landmark heart transplant procedure
It is being widely reported in the media that experts at Papworth Hospital have successfully performed a landmark procedure by successfully transplanting a heart from a non-heart beating donor.
Statement on NHSBT response to the coroner's report following the Cardiff inquest
NHS Blood and Transplant has responded to the coroner's report following the inquest in Cardiff into the deaths in December 2013 of two patients shortly after they received a kidney transplant from the same donor. We have published the letter detailing the actions we are taking following this sad and unique case.
Successful organ donation from a newborn baby in the UK reported
A publication of an academic paper has been released today on what is claimed to be the UK's first successful neonatal donation.
NHS Blood and Transplant statement about inquest into deaths of two transplant recipients after kidney transplant from the same donor
The inquest into the sad deaths of Mr Stuart and Mr Hughes concluded today in Cardiff.
Sad case of the deaths of two transplant recipients following a kidney transplant from the same donor
An inquest is taking place this week in Cardiff into the deaths in December 2013 of two patients shortly after they received a kidney transplant from the same donor. It is a sad and unique case, which has been subject to several investigations.
ITV's Tonight emphasises the importance of organ donation in The Greatest Gift
Organ donation and transplantation has once again been the focus of a prime-time documentary. At 7.30pm on Thursday 19th December, ITV's current affairs series, Tonight, broadcast a programme called 'The Greatest Gift.'
Organ donation in focus on Channel 4 this week
Each night this week, Channel 4's 4thought.tv programme will broadcast a series of short films about organ donation.
NHS Blood and Transplant welcomes Human Transplantation (Wales) law
The Human Transplantation (Wales) bill became law on Tuesday 10th September 2013 following Royal Assent.
Regenerative medicine and organ donation in the UK
Recent media stories have reported that developments in regenerative medicine could soon lead to human organs being 'manufactured' for transplant.
Among other breakthroughs, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh successfully grafted human cells onto a mouse's heart and made it beat again. In other experiments, animal organs have had all their cells removed and then repopulated with stem cells to generate new organs.
NHS Blood and Transplant response to Holby City episode on 30 July 2013
NHS Blood and Transplant is extremely disappointed by Holby City's portrayal of organ donation in the episode broadcast on 30th July. We have already been contacted by people asking to be taken off the Organ Donor Register as a direct result of having seen this programme. We were approached for advice on the script and it is disappointing to know that despite sharing our concerns about the depiction of certain situations, these scenes were still kept in for the purpose of creating a more controversial story.
NHS Blood and Transplant statement on the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) supports the commitment of the Welsh Government to increase the number of organs donated for transplantation and welcomes the decision of the National Assembly for Wales (2 July 2013) to pass the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill. The aim of this important step is to increase the number of people in Wales who donate their organs after death. Following Royal Assent, expected later in the summer, there will be a two year information campaign to ensure everyone is fully informed on what the changes will mean and the choices they can make.
Media reports about old case in US
NHS Blood and Transplant is aware of reports in the media concerning an incident in a hospital in the USA in 2009, where correct procedures were not followed with regard to organ donation.
Elements of the new Organ Transplantation strategy explained
Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020: A UK strategy has been launched by NHS Blood and Transplant and the four UK health departments.
NHSBT statement in response to ITV Tonight documentary, 'The Kindness of Strangers', ITV1 30/08/12
NHSBT has encouraged, supported and promoted non-directed altruistic donation since it was made possible through the Human Tissue Acts.
As part of the development process for our post 2013 organ donation strategy NHSBT produced a short survey to gather views on what elements should be included in the new strategy. To help inform answers, we recommended reading a portfolio of evidence which outlines the current position and some possible future strategies.
The engagement exercise was open from 28th July to 24th September 2012. We received an excellent number of responses and we are very grateful to everyone who took the time to tell us their views. The results are published here.
We aim to produce the new strategy by April 2013.
Viaspan product recall
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have been informed by the manufacturer that Viacom, a perfusion fluid used during abdominal organ donation, has been recalled. This is due to a potential contamination risk. No adverse events have been recorded related to this product. There is no other product immediately available in the UK for use in liver, pancreas and small bowel donation. NHS Blood and Transplant is working with the MHRA and Department of Health to secure alternative supplies. To ensure that the transplant programme is maintained, it has been agreed that Viaspan will continue in use until alternative products are available.
NHSBT statement in response to two cases of lymphoma transfer through kidney transplantation, Liverpool, Nov 2010
Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant
said: "On behalf of NHSBT I offer our sincere and
unreserved apologies to the patients for the fact that
each received a donated kidney that would have been
rejected by their surgeon if he had been aware of the
complete donor information.
British Journal of Anaesthesia Supplement - Diagnosis of Death and Organ Donation
Paul Murphy, National Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: "Organ transplantation is made possible through the generosity of people who donate their organs so that others can live on, but also through the skill and dedication of a great many clinical staff.
"There has been much progress in recent years in transforming the systems and processes across the UK to increase rates of organ donation and transplantation, and there is more work needed to improve rates further.
"NHS Blood and Transplant plays a key part in overseeing and managing donation and transplant processes and is privileged to have been involved in producing this supplement which brings together the professional views of many highly respected and experienced clinicians and showcases the work being done in the UK to increase donor numbers.
"Diagnosis of Death and Organ Donation should be seen as a seminal source of reference for those wishing to work with us and others across the NHS to drive forward change and improvements in this miraculous and life-saving area of medicine."
A press release from Oxford University Press can be found here.
For further information, please contact the NHSBT press office on 0117 969 2444, at firstname.lastname@example.org or out of hours on 07659 133583.
Wales Organ Donation Bill White Paper - November 2011
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) welcomes any change that encourages people to discuss and support organ donation and we will work within whatever legislative framework is introduced in any of the four health administrations in the United Kingdom. As the UK Organ Donor Organisation, NHSBT will be involved in implementation of the new policy.
Department of Health publishes outcome of Commercial Review of NHSBT
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) welcomes the findings of the Department of Health's review of its commercial effectiveness and support for its plans to improve its efficiency and effectiveness and deliver further savings to the NHS as an arm's-length body.
NHSBT Statement on Kidney Transplants at Royal Liverpool Hospital
22 March 2011
Dr James Neuberger, NHSBT Associate Medical Director, said: "We extend our sympathy to the patients and their families in this situation, but would stress that this is uncommon and that everything possible is always done to reduce the risk of any transmissible diseases.
NHS Blood and Transplant - Commercial Effectiveness Review
9 March 2011
The Department of Health is leading a review into the commercial effectiveness of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). This was announced in the ALB Review Report (Liberating the NHS: Report of the arm's-length bodies review) published in July 2010 by the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley.
Review of Liver Allocation Scheme
21 February 2011
Dr James Neuberger, NHSBT Associate Medical Director, said: "Allocating organs fairly, in a transparent way, and ensuring that patients receive the maximum benefit from a transplant are the main aims of the UK organ allocation schemes.
Organ Donation and Judaism in the UK
13 January 2011
James Neuberger, Associate Medical Director for NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), said: NHSBT respects the views of all religions and has received public support from all the major faiths in the UK towards organ donation.
ODT Professional Development Programme (PDP) shortlisted in Guardian Public Services Awards 2010
26 November 2010
NHS Blood and Transplant's Professional Development Programme (PDP) for Clinical and Non-Clinical Leads in Organ Donation was placed as a runner-up in the seventh annual Guardian Public Services Awards 2010. The Programme, which was judged in the Skills Development category, provides over 350 NHS Consultants and Organ Donation Committee Chairpeople with the clinical expertise, leadership and change management skills they need to improve organ donation.
Almost 700 teams and individuals entered the 2010 awards and the winners included local authorities, charities, museums and a prison.
In conjunction with other initiatives, NHSBT's Professional Development Programme has helped to achieve a 15%-20% increase in donor numbers after being launched in February this year.
19 October 2010
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) welcomes Professor Sir Gordon Duff’s independent review into mis-recording of data on the Organ Donor Register (ODR), and his finding that the issue was handled with the appropriate level of urgency, diligence and sensitivity.
24 September 2010
Preventing heart disease and stroke through healthy behaviours at work is the theme for this year’s World Heart Day on Sunday 26 September.
Organised by the World Heart Federation, it is also a time to reflect on how organ donation helps to give very sick heart patients – those for whom there is no other cure – the chance to live on.
According to the UK Transplant Registry, a total of 6,714* people have benefited from a heart transplant in the UK. In many acute cases, this is the only possible treatment and without it, a patient will die.
Coronary heart disease last year was the underlying reason for more than 10% of all heart transplants in the UK, along with dilated cardiomyopathy which is also life-threatening and accounted for 34%.
Without the kindness of donors and their families who at a traumatic time agree to donation taking place, hundreds of heart patients’ lives would be cut short.
There is a worldwide need for more donors of all organs but in the UK alone around three people die every day because of the shortage.
If you believe in helping others to live on through organ donation, join the NHS Organ Donor Register. It’s important to talk to your relatives as well so that they know what your wishes are.
Click here to read real life stories of people whose lives have been saved and transformed through heart and other organ transplants.
Did you know?
- 125 heart and heart/lung transplants were carried out last year (1 April 2009-31 March 2010) in the UK
As at 24 September 2010:
- 127 people are currently waiting for a heart or heart/lung transplant in the UK
- 8,001 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant in the UK, a majority – 6,869 – registered for a kidney transplant
- 17,416,009 people have pledged to donate organs for transplant by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register
* as at 13 September 2010, including heart only transplant and heart combined with another organ transplant
Visit also: www.world-heart-federation.org
26 July 2010
NHS Blood and Transplant's continued status as the Special Health Authority responsible for securing the safe supply of blood, organs and associated services to the NHS was confirmed today in a statement by Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, on the Arm's-Length Bodies Review.
Commenting on the announcement, Chief Executive, Lynda Hamlyn said: "I am very pleased that NHSBT's unique contribution to the NHS has been recognised so that we can continue our life saving work of delivering a safe and sufficient supply of blood, blood products, organs, tissues, stem cells and specialist services to patients."
21 July 2010
In response to an article published on bmj.com on 21 July 2010 regarding variations between centres in terms of patients’ access to kidney transplantation, James Neuberger, Associate Medical Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHSBT, said:
“NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has long been responsible for analysing data relating to transplants and their outcomes in order to inform future clinical practice and ensure the best possible care for patients.
“We therefore welcome this study and encourage renal centres to take note of its findings so as to help bring about further improvement in care, treatment and equity.
We have now written to 300,000 people on the Organ Donor Register to confirm their preferences for organ donation, following identification of a technical error in recording information on the Register. This means that all those whose preferences could not be confirmed from the information already held have received a letter asking them to contact us. However, if anyone wishes to check their details please contact us on 0300 123 99 99 or email email@example.com.
Where we have not been contacted by the named registrant and any records are believed to still contain potentially incorrect information, we can assure ODR members that these records will not be used in discussions with families about organ donation. Only records that were believed to have been affected and then amended in accordance with the registrant’s wishes will be used in any future family discussions.
We have contacted the small number of families whose relative became a donor where their preferences may not have been correctly recorded. In each case the family gave permission for the donation to take place, but it may not have been in line with the individual's preferences. We sincerely apologise for any distress this may have caused.
Three people die every day due to lack of an organ and we thank everyone who makes the very important decision to join the Organ Donor Register. If you are already on the Register please make sure that your family is aware of your wish to donate.
Recording of incorrect data on the NHS Organ Donor Register23 April 2010
We are currently writing to 300,000 people on the organ donor register to confirm their preferences following identification of a technical error in recording information on the NHS Organ Donor Register. If you have not heard from us in the next month then you can be confident that your record is accurate. However, if you wish to check your details please contact us on 0300 123 99 99 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We assure everyone on the Organ Donor Register that the affected records will not be used in discussions with their family about organ donation. They will only be used once they have been corrected in accordance with the donor's wishes.
We have contacted the 25 families whose relative became a donor where their preferences may not have been correctly recorded. In each case the family gave permission for the donation to take place, but it may not have been in line with the individual's preferences. We sincerely apologise for any distress this may have caused.
Most of the 17 million people on the Register do not need to take any action. Three people die a day due to lack of an organ and we thank everyone who makes this very generous step to give the gift of life. If you are already on the Organ Donor Register please make sure that your family is aware of your wish to donate.
Recording of incorrect data on the NHS Organ Donor Register11 April 2010
We have identified a technical error in recording information on the NHS Organ Donor Register. This only affects those who have registered via the driving licence application form.
We assure everyone currently on the organ donor register that the affected records will not be used in discussions with their family about organ donation. They will only be used once they have been corrected in accordance with the donors' wishes. We will shortly be writing to all those on the register who may be affected to confirm their preferences. Anyone else on the register who is not contacted can be confident that their record is accurate.
There are a small number of cases, 21 over the past six years, where the person has died and their preferences may not have been correctly recorded. In each case the family gave permission for the donation to take place, but it may not have been in line with the individual's preferences. We will be contacting the affected families as a matter of urgency. There could be a small number of additional cases. We are still checking our records to ensure that other donors or families have not been similarly affected.
The vast majority of people on the ODR do not need to take any action. If you are registered on the ODR and haven't been contacted by us then there's nothing you need to do, we can assure you that the problem is being fixed.
We sincerely apologise for any distress this may have caused. We can reassure everyone that no organs have been donated without the support of the deceased's nearest relatives and that no one has been registered as a donor against their wishes.
NHS Blood and Transplant welcomes the introduction of guidance designed to allow for flexibility in the allocation of donated organs in exceptional circumstances.
The guidelines, which have been agreed by all UK Health Administrations, allow for a donated organ to be allocated preferentially to someone waiting for an organ transplant who is in a close relationship to the deceased.
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, the special health authority responsible for the allocation of organs across the UK, said: “This guidance supports the well-established donation process in which respecting the wishes of donors, in consultation with their relatives, is an important part.
“Thousands of people benefit every year from an organ donated unconditionally by a complete stranger which is allocated based on clinical need, ensuring the best possible outcome for the transplant.
“This guidance will enable us to consider, as we always do, what the donor wanted but also to take into account the health and wellbeing of a sick patient who is known to them.
“We do not expect these occasions to arise very often and most organ transplants carried out in the UK will continue to be based on unconditional donation.
"With around 10,000 people in need of an organ transplant and an average of three people dying every day because of the shortage, there remains an urgent need for people to consider donation in general, join the NHS Organ Donor Register and to discuss their donation wishes with their relatives so that these can be confirmed when the time comes."
Super-urgent liver and heart patients will continue to take priority in the organ allocation process due to the urgency of their need and the likelihood of their death without a transplant.
The process for joining the NHS Organ Donor Register will be unchanged as a result of the guidance – any consideration of requested or preferential donation will only be given at the time of the donor’s death.
NHSBT statement on mandated choice for organ donation17 March 2010
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) welcomes the debate about mandated choice for organ donation as a way of encouraging discussion about this important subject.
However, it is neither for nor against any changes to the system of consent for organ donation, any of which would require a change of legislation.
Instead, with three people dying every day in the UK in need of an organ transplant, NHSBTs focus is on encouraging even more people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).
The Human Tissue Acts, introduced in 2006, confirm the importance of consent for organ donation and make it clear that the wishes of the deceased should be of the utmost importance.
More than 17 million people have already joined the ODR thats 28% of the UK population but even more are needed.
Anyone signing up is urged to discuss their wishes with family and friends to ensure they can confirm their wishes when the time comes.
To sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register you can do so now by calling 0300 123 23 23 or logging on to www.organdonation.nhs.uk
Eligibility of non-UK residents to receive donated organs9 December 2009
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has a statutory responsibility to ensure the integrity of organ donation in the United Kingdom specifically, that organs donated for transplant are matched and allocated in a fair way, based on the clinical need of the patient and in accordance with the law.
Organs donated from deceased donors in the UK are given freely and without condition. It is illegal to sell organs for transplantation in the UK.
Safety of organs for transplant25 November 2009
Transplants are vital operations and their success depend entirely on the generosity of donors and their families who make this lifesaving gift.
Donated organs are a precious resource and save thousands of lives through organ transplants every year. In the UK, donated organs are given freely and without condition, and are allocated to waiting patients strictly according to need and best match. Organ transplantation has an excellent safety record and can transform a patient's life.
Detailed screening is carried out on every donor. This takes account of their cause of death, documented medical history and lifestyle and information gained through talking to relatives. A transplant may be the only possible treatment for some people, who would die without one. In a situation where there are not nearly enough organs available for the number of transplants required, it often comes down to a balance of risk and benefit.
Surgeons are always making judgements about the suitability of donated organs and are faced with the dilemma that - for example - more patients would die if they didn't receive a transplant at all. Guidance is available that sets out the risks and benefits of when an organ should be used. Ultimately this is a decision for the clinician, the patient and their family.
An every day dilemma for UK doctors27 August 2009
In the UK there is a shortage of donor livers for transplant. There are currently 380 patients waiting for a liver transplant, of whom 38 are aged 25 years or less. In July 2009 alone, 12 patients who were listed for liver transplant died before a liver could be found for them or because they became too ill to undergo the operation. Deciding who should get the precious donated liver is a dilemma that UK doctors face every day.
Liver allocation guidelines have been drawn up by the NHS Blood and Transplant Liver Advisory Group, after discussion with health care professionals and the public, to ensure there is transparency and fairness in organ allocation and to assist clinicians to decide whom amongst their patients will receive a life-saving liver transplant.
Dr Mark Hudson, Consultant Hepatologist of the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, and a member of the NHS Blood and Transplant Liver Advisory Group said, “The decision whether to offer a transplant to patients with severe alcoholic liver disease is complex, involving many clinical advisors including transplant surgeons and physicians, psychiatrists and alcohol support counsellors. They take into account the risk to the patient of dying without a liver transplant, as well as the expected outcome and survival from a transplant.
“If the team believe that there is a high chance that a patient might return to alcohol consumption or any other behaviour which would harm the transplanted liver then that possibility must be considered as to whether a transplant is appropriate. There is no absolute rule that a patient must have been abstinent for 6 months prior to being accepted onto a transplant list. The guidelines are published on the NHSBT website at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.”
Professor James Neuberger, Associate Medical Director of NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “The UK has one of the lowest organ donor rates in Europe. Decisions about whom should receive a life saving liver and other organ is a daily dilemma faced by transplant surgeons across the country. The solution to this problem lies in increasing the number of organ donors. I strongly urge everyone to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23, go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk or text SAVE to 84118 and let your family know of your wishes.”
For further information please contact the NHSBT press office on 0117 969 2444 or out of hours on 07659 133583
- NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority in the NHS. It is the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs. Its remit also includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS
- To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23, go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk or text SAVE to 84118
UK Transplant statement on directed donation of organs after death15 April 2008
UK Transplant offers its condolences to the family of Laura Ashworth – and hope that they are able to find comfort in the knowledge that honouring her wish to be an organ donor has helped three people.
Organ transplantation is a subject that generates strong debate and opinions. Inevitably the intense media coverage about this case has focused on how donated organs for transplantation are allocated.
Opt in or opt out?March 2008
The current “opt-in” system of organ donation – where individuals are asked to register their willingness to be a donor after their death – has been the subject of debate for many years.
Healthcare Commission review of heart transplants at Papworth Hospital19 November 2007
UK Transplant welcomes todays report by the Healthcare Commission which allows heart transplantation at Papworth Hospital to resume.
Throughout the two-week review, UK Transplant worked closely with the Healthcare Commission team to provide detailed statistical background information about the UKs heart transplant programme.
UK Transplant already collects and shares much of the data suggested by the reports recommendations, and will now look at ways to refine this process.
Every year in the UK, around 3,000 organ transplants are carried out for patients with end-stage organ failure for whom there is no other treatment. Overall success rates of these operations are high and steadily continue to improve.
Statement on Dutch reality TV show29 May 2007
Donated organs are a precious resource and save thousands of lives through organ transplants every year. In the UK, donated organs are given freely and without condition, and are allocated to waiting patients strictly according to need and best match. There is no provision for deceased directed donation of the type envisaged in the Netherlands' Big Donor Show.
Taking on personality traits of donors14 June 2006
While we are aware of the suggestion that transplant recipients take on aspects of the personality of the organ donor, we are not aware of any evidence to support it and, while not discounting it entirely, we have no reason to believe that it happens.
We would be very interested to see any definitive evidence that supports it.
NHS Organ Donor Register2 February 2006
The NHS Organ Donor Register is a confidential, computerised database holding the wishes of 14 million people who want to donate their organs after their death to help others to live.
We can categorically state that no-one who is applying to add, amend or withdraw a registration has direct access to that database.
Equality of access to donor organs8 August 2002
Donated organs are
a precious resource. Their sharing is conducted under rules
drawn up by the appropriate UK Transplant advisory committee,
ensuring that each organ is given to the most suitable recipient
and that each patient, as far as possible, is provided with
equal access to available organs.
Alder Hey outcome5 March 2002
The gift of organs for transplant in the UK was not adversely affected as a result of the Alder Hey organ retention inquiry.