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IKA and Seanad on debate & revision on organ donation and transplantation

The Board of the Irish Kidney Association and some members of Seanad Eireann have expressed their dissatisfaction with Ireland’s first ever primary legislation on organ donation and transplantation, in the history of the state, which was signed into law by the Health Minister on 27th August.

Senator Mark Daly is leading the charge for the new legislation  to be debated in Seanad Eireann by exercising an unprecedented utilisation of one of the Seanad’s powers.  By securing a petition to the Cathaorelacht of 20 or more Senator signatories the legislation can be debated and proposals for revisions and improvements can be implemented retrospectively.

Having submitted the petition this week, Senator Daly said “as the Irish Kidney Association’s nominee to the Seanad, I was greatly disappointed that no debate took place in the Dail, Seanad or the Health Committee prior to the Minister signing into law, via Statutory Instrument No. 325, the first ever legislation on organ donation and transplantation. I look forward to the Minister coming before the Seanad and taking on board its concerns and recommendations as well as those of the greater organ donation and transplant community.”

Earlier this week, the Board of the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) unanimously passed a resolution expressing disappointment at the Department of Health’s ‘weak’ response to the initiative of the ‘EU Commission’s 10-point Action Plan for Organ Donation and Transplantation’  first published in 2008.  The IKA expected the ‘EU Directive, passed in 2010, on the Quality and Safety of Organ Donation and Transplantation’ which was transposed into Irish Law would provide general leadership to the organ donation and transplant community, by also embracing the EU 10-point action plan.

According to The Irish Kidney Association’s Chief Executive, Mr. Mark Murphy,  the legislation “only does the bare minimum required by the directive largely ignoring the action plan”.

“This is a lost opportunity,” said Mark Murphy. “We were expecting clear leadership to emerge from the Department of Health and what we have got is a list of shared and divided responsibilities, between the Health Service Executive and the Irish Medicines Board, and no singular competent authority to drive the action plan into the health system, just the bare statutory requirements of the directive”.

“Ireland’s compliance with the directive means that we have the most changes to make of any European member state as we have, never before, legislated for organ donation and

transplantation.  Much of the changes required to comply with the directive have to do with our lack of licensing or regulation of our Hospitals’ operating theatres and the reorganisation of existing roles in the health service.

The programme for Government does contain a paragraph indicating its willingness to improve the availability of organs for patients in desperate need.

The IKA had great expectations for real improvements and advancements for organ donation and transplantation via Ireland’s adoption of this EU Directive and Action Plan. The IKA is deeply disappointed that the financial savings, achievable from adopting the action plan, have not been recognised, NOR the quantity of life improvements and life saving opportunities that more organ donation brings.”

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