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Call for more donor transplant coordinators

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The organ donation organisation for the UK NHS Blood and Transplant has called for more nurses to become donor transplant coordinators.

At present there are 170 donor transplant coordinator (DTC) teams in service with NHS Blood and Transplant, but there is a “real need” for more and the target is to have 250 teams in place by 2011, the organisation said.

Usually from a critical care or A&E background, donor transplant coordinators work closely with critical care teams to ensure that potential organ donors are indentified and referred, and that all families are offered the option of organ donation.

NHS Blood and Transplant began bringing donor transplant coordinators together to form regional, nurse-led teams following recommendations from the 2008 Organ Donation Task Force Report.

Previously, each hospital had their own transplant coordinator.

Former neuro intensive care nurse Jeanette Foley has been a donor transplant coordinator in the London region for the past two years. She said: “A critical care or A&E background is ideal for a DTC role as you already have experience of talking to bereaved families. You also have the skills to talk them through what is happening at a very challenging and confusing time.

“Donor transplant coordinators have always been in place, but the team approach means we work more closely with critical care teams and less in isolation,” she told Nursing Times.

In 2008, the government set a target of increasing the number of organ donors by 50 per cent over the next five years.

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