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Twelve potential pancreas donations did not proceed due to lack of manpower

Twelve potential pancreas donations did not proceed in an eight-month period due to manpower deficits in organ donation and transplantation, heard a meeting of the National Organ Donation and Transplantation Advisory Group (NODTAG) in March.

The HSE’s Organ Donation Transplant Ireland (ODTI) office was “aware of 12 potential pancreas donations which have been declined in the last eight months”, according to meeting minutes obtained by the Medical Independent (MI) from the HSE under Freedom of Information law.

Mr Emir Hoti, Consultant Transplant Surgeon at St Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH), Dublin, where pancreas transplants are conducted, “reminded all” that a Monday-to-Friday only surgical service operates at the national pancreas transplant centre. “No weekend cover exists,” according to meeting minutes. “Retrieval and transplant is reliant on two surgeons. Similarly, Mon to Fri anaesthetic cover only exists.”

In July, MI reported that five potential pancreas donations did not proceed to retrieval or transplant in 2018, against the backdrop of manpower deficits.

Commenting at the time, an SVUH spokesperson said no pancreas is retrieved from a donor without certain criteria being met, including suitability for transplant, availability of suitable recipient, and hospital resources.

“Pancreas transplant surgery is complex and is currently undertaken Monday to Friday in our hospital. We are currently reviewing the resource requirements of the programme to ensure we continue to meet patient need.”

Last month, MI reported on June correspondence from ODTI Director Prof Jim Egan to Minister for Health Simon Harris warning of a “very significant infrastructure deficit” that is limiting organ donation and transplant. 

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