Home » IKA CALLS FOR ACTION AND LEADERSHIP TO INCREASE DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION

PRESS RELEASE OCTOBER, 2013

IKA CALLS FOR ACTION AND LEADERSHIP TO INCREASE DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION

In the lead up to European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation on 12th October, the Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association, Mr. Mark Murphy has asserted that, “Ireland’s slow decline on the European league table for organ donation can be explained by lack of action.

As European (IRODaT*) figures for 2012 reveal that Ireland is now in 16th place in Europe for all organ donation (living and deceased combined) and 19th place for all organ transplantation, Mr. Murphy said “the time for discussion and talk on how to improve organ donation rates needs to conclude and be replaced by implementation of an Irish Action Plan. Legislation has little or no part to play in the plan to increase levels of organ donation and should not be waited for. Political decisions are needed to release the cost saving funds for this plan. What is required is infrastructural and clinical changes. Key to this is the employment of, and training for, organ donor co-ordinators, to be located in all our intensive care hospitals and the expansion of the use of cardiac death donors which has seriously boosted organ donor levels for our neighbours in the UK.”

Mr. Murphy said, “aside from the obvious benefits that an increase in transplantation would offer to Irish patients in desperate need of organs, it is economically effective and would result in significant savings to the exchequer.”

Referring to European figures for 2012, Mr. Mark Murphy said, “thanks to the generosity of the grieving families of 78 deceased organ donors in 2012, 206 people in Ireland benefitted from organ transplantation. An additional 32 people received kidney transplants thanks to the generosity of their living donors. Ireland is now in 12th place in Europe for living kidney transplantation compared to 27th place five years ago, thanks to the on-going expansion of the Living Kidney Transplantation Programme at Beaumont Hospital.”

“However, for deceased donor kidney transplantation Ireland dropped two places since 2011 to 14th with only 131 kidney transplants from deceased donors in 2012, well below the top 10 position we used to enjoy over a decade ago. Combining living and deceased kidney transplantation we currently lie in 16th position in Europe. 20% of kidney transplantation in Ireland now comes from living donors and this is expected to expand more in the coming years.”

“The top five countries for all transplantation, Norway, Croatia, Belgium, Austria and Spain, are all transplanting 65% more organs than Ireland. Croatia, Belgium and Austria take the first three positions on Europe’s deceased donor table, all with levels of over 30 per million of population (p.m.p.) This compares to Ireland which has 17.3 p.m.p.

Norway and Croatia, are the top two countries when all organs transplanted are added together. Both countries have similar size populations to Ireland, but have vastly different economies but still they enjoy first and second position in Europe. Ireland is in a disappointing 19th place. If the political will to make change really exists, these facts tell me that, it can be done, and it’s not all about the money.”

2012 European figures place Ireland is in 14th position for Liver transplantation with 50 liver transplants taking place last year, dropping two places from the previous year when 61 liver transplants were carried out at St. Vincent’s University Hospital. A living Liver donor programme is not available in Ireland and might be a source of donors in the future.

Ireland continues to rank poorly for Heart transplantation and while 10 Heart transplants were conducted at the Mater Hospital last year, Ireland is ranked in a low 21st place against other European countries. However, it is understood that Ireland and the UK offer many other options, not employed by other countries, to patients to avoid needing heart transplants.

Ireland’s Lung transplantation position has increased by two places since last year to 13th on the league table for 2012 as 14 lung transplants took place at the Mater Hospital Dublin last year compared with 8 in 2011. A record 24 Lung transplants have already taken place so far this year and this growth trend looks likely to continue. The Lung Transplant Programme was only set up at the Mater Hospital in 2006.

European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation will be celebrated throughout Europe on Saturday 12th October. Organised by the Council of Europe the event aims to raise awareness about the increasing demand for organ donation for transplantation throughout Europe.

For more information on European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation click here

For organ donor cards Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or Locall 1890 543639 or click here. Donor cards can now be stored on smartphones by downloading the free Organ Donor Ecard app.

*IRODaT is the International Registry for Organ Donation and Transplantation which is operated by the Donational Transplantation Institute DTI in Barcelona, Spain (www.irodat.org)
Direct comparisons are made across the European countries by making reference to the per million of population rate (p.m.p).

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