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Shake-up of transplant system unveiled

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All donor transplant co-ordinators are to be employed centrally in future rather than by trusts, the government has announced.

A report from the government’s Organ Donation Taskforce, published today, has called for a radical shake-up of the current system.

The report recommends that an extra 100 extra donor transplant co-ordinators should be recruited to work in hospitals. It said these staff as well as existing co-ordinators should be employed directly by the NHS Blood and Transplant rather than individual trusts.

This would end the variations in employment and training practices, the taskforce said. It also wants a strengthened network of organ retrieval teams that will work closely with critical care teams and be available 24 hours.

These and other measures could improve the donation consent rate by 10%, resulting in an extra 1,200 transplants a year, the taskforce added.

Ministers have accepted the taskforce’s 14 recommendations in full. Health secretary Alan Johnson said: ‘More than 1000 people die every year waiting for a transplant. I am determined that we do all we can to increase levels of donation and make a difference to as many patients as possible.’

The taskforce will now start a review on the controversial issue of whether the UK should move to a ‘presumed consent’ model.

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