NHS Blood and Transplant launch organ donation and transplantation ‘meeting the need’ strategy

The NHS Blood and Transplant service has published its organ donation strategy, ‘Organ Donation and Transplantation: Meeting the Need strategy’, this month.

The strategy sets out its ambitions over the next 10 years to increase consent rates for organ donation and to make the most of donated organs for transplant.

It’s the first time two areas and strategies have formed into one, combining deceased and living organ donation; Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020 strategy and the Living Donor Kidney Transplantation 2020 strategy, which as launched back in 2013/14.

NHS Blood and Transplant unit said: “The number of donors has risen considerably in recent years, the number of organs transplanted has not increased at the same rate, as more organs are not of a suitable quality for transplant. In fact, for the last two years there has been a drop in the number of organs suitable for transplant. Several factors, including an increase in the average age of donors and other lifestyle factors, has led to this decline in organ utilisation.”

The use of new technologies has been outlined in the strategy, citing areas such as DCD heart retrieval and normothermic perfusion for livers, designed to boost and maintain organ quality during the retrieval process.

The main aims of the strategy and areas for action focus around six themes:

  1. For living and deceased donation to become an expected part of care, where clinically appropriate, for all in society 
  2. For optimal organ utilisation in every organ group, benefitting from new technologies and techniques
  3. To make the most effective use of a precious donor organ, ensuring that recipient outcomes are amongst the best in the world
  4. To enable people of all backgrounds and circumstances to have timely access to the organ they need
  5. To secure a sustainable service across the UK, making the most of every opportunity for a donation and a transplant, as donation numbers increase due to the new legislation
  6. To build a pioneering culture of research and innovation in donation and transplantation in the UK

Betsy Bassis, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, commented: “This new strategy sets out our ambitions to be world leaders in organ donation and transplantation.

“We aim to balance the evolution of current best practice with a revolution in new technologies and research to deliver real improvements for people in need of a transplant.

“Despite significant progress, there remain substantial challenges – and opportunities – to securing a suitable organ for everyone who needs a transplant.

“Some initiatives from the previous strategies will continue, whilst we look to implement new ones with the potential to increase the numbers of both living and deceased donation. These will, in turn, deliver real improvements for people in desperate need of a transplant.”

To view the strategy please click here >