The Irish Kidney Association (IKA) is proposing an organ donor registry in line with the new HSE Consent Policy. The proposal was made at the launch today of Organ Donor Awareness Week, which runs from 1-8 April.
In 2016 the HSE managed a total of 298 transplants, noted CEO of the IKA Mr Mark Murphy at the national launch of the annual awareness campaign today.
In addition to the 280 transplants which took place in Ireland last year, a further 11 paediatric organ transplants and seven living donor transplants took place in the UK, organised by the HSE for Irish patients.
Mr Murphy said: “These patients have enjoyed the benefits of being able to access a larger pool of deceased donors in highly skilled UK programmes for paediatric liver, heart and lung transplants as well as specialised adult kidney programmes including paired exchange kidney transplants.”
In his speech, Mr Murphy proposed that a way of increasing the number of deceased organ donors is the establishment of an Organ Donor Registry. “This registry should be in line with the HSE’s National Consent Policy. The Policy (see www.assisteddecisionmaking.ie) covers all areas of patient consent in the health system,” he said.
When making comparisons between organ donation figures for the four years (2013-2016) with the previous four years (2009-2012), Mr Murphy highlighted that while there were slightly fewer donors in the last four years, (307 versus 319), this was countered by more organ transplant operations taking place. “While constantly encouraging the public to consider organ donation is essential, there is evidence that improvements in skills and techniques can also help achieve more transplants,” he said.
He commended the Mater Hospital, Dublin, for dramatic improvements in the number of lung and heart transplants carried out when comparing the period 2013-2016 with the period 2009-2012. There was a fourfold increase in lung transplants (from 31 to 134) and twice as many heart transplants (increasing from 30 to 60). There was a decrease of 47 in the number of deceased donor kidney transplants carried out in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, when comparing the two time periods. However, there was an increase of 61 in the number of living donor kidney transplants.
In 2016, a record 50 living donor kidney transplants were undertaken at Beaumont Hospital.
According to the IKA, St Vincent’s University Hospital has been “consistent in its level of liver transplantation over the past eight years and it conducted four more liver transplants in the same four year period but with less donors”.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Health Simon Harris said he had prioritised the development of legislation to provide for an opt-out system of consent for organ donation. The Department is currently working on this “in the context of work required to develop an over-arching human tissue policy and legislative framework”.
He added: “I intend to bring a memo to Government shortly setting out this policy direction and my intention to launch a public consultation on the development of the proposals before the end of the summer.”
There are approximately 600 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants.
Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association: LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050. Visit website www.ika.ie.
You can now download the IKA’s new digital donor card by visiting www.donor.ie on your smartphone.