Saturday, 20 November 2010

TRANSPLANTATION IN SPAIN

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http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c4973.extract
Very good piece explaining why donation rates in Spain are higher than those in the UK.
In the popular media, it has always been stated that the reason for the high rates has been the presumed consent law. Gordon Brown, the last UK prime minister toyed with the idea of introducing such a scheme in the UK when he first became PM. I suppose only a socialist would assume such a scheme would improve donation rates . Mr Brown has a son with cystic fibrosis and obviously has a vested interest. Thankfully common sense prevailed and the UK was spared a move that could have potentially crippled transplantation.  This excellent paper demonstrates that contrary to popular belief consent is not presumed in Spain and the family is involved in the decision. The main difference in donation rates between Spain and the UK lies in the rates of donation from brain dead heart beating donors ie from patients on ICU . This fact is important as there are big differences as far as ICU provision between the two countries and transplant coordinator training given to staff.
Transplant infrastructure has improved immeasurably in the UK in recent years and there is no doubt that with intelligent planning and training donation rates could be improved.