NHS Blood and Transplant works closely with doctors, nurses and others to monitor the organ donation and transplantation process and ensure that it is as safe as possible. However, as with any medical procedure, there are always risks.

Our Advisory Groups meet regularly to review organ donation and transplant activity and make recommendations on where improvements could be made. The minutes and papers presented at the Kidney Advisory Group are available here.

Copies of the guidance we provide regarding the responsibilities of the various clinicians in the retrieval and transplantation pathway are available here.

To make best use of the information provided, we recommend that you seek advice from your doctor or nurse, or seek help from the Kidney Patient Support Group.

Additional information for patients is available from the following websites:

Licensed UK kidney transplant units

All hospital transplant units must be licensed by the Human Tissue Authority. Patients are normally referred to their nearest transplant unit, but they may opt to go elsewhere.

This list provides the names of all licensed UK Kidney transplant units.

Selection Policies – how do patients get onto the National Transplant waiting list?

These policies outline how patients are selected for kidney transplantation.

There is a general overall policy on patient selection for a solid organ transplant from a deceased donor which is available here.

The policy for how patients are selected for a kidney or kidney and pancreas transplant is available here.

Allocation policy - how are donated kidneys allocated?

Kidneys from deceased donors in the UK are allocated according to a complex process to ensure equity and fairness, which is described here.

Living Kidney Donation

Some kidneys are donated by living donors. More information about the processes involved is given here.

Waiting times – how long will a person wait for a kidney transplant?

There are many factors that determine how long a listed patient may wait for a kidney transplant, such as blood group, tissue type and the degree of sensitisation. This leads to a variation between different centres.

You can find the waiting times for each centre here.

Because of the many factors that affect the waiting times, we have developed a model where you can get an estimate of how long you might wait. This is available here. (note: this does not work on tablet devices).

Before using the model, you need to have a range of information to hand, including:
  • Blood Group
  • Matchability (whether due to a range of factors, such as blood group, it will be ‘easy’, ‘moderate’, or ‘difficult’ to find a matching organ).
  • Registration age (age at point of being actively listed onto the National Kidney Transplant List).
  • The centre at which the patient will be receiving their transplant. (This is not always their dialysis centre).
  • Sensitisation (any antibodies in the blood – e.g. as a result of pregnancy or a previous organ transplant).
  • If the patient has received a previous kidney transplant that failed within 180 days of the transplant operation.
  • Patient ethnicity.
  • The length of time of any suspensions from the list (patients may be suspended if they are too sick to undergo a transplant operation).
  • If the patient is HLA-DR homozygous or HLA-B homozygous.
  • If the patient has had any previous solid organ transplants.
We advise that you discuss the result with your doctor/nurse.

Outcomes – what is the outcome after kidney transplantation?

There are many factors that will affect how long transplanted kidneys will last and how long people will live after kidney transplantation. We publish the outcomes from listing and from transplantation by centre but please be careful in using this information which applies to the ‘average’ person and not to you. Again, we suggest you discuss this with your doctors.

Further data that may be of interest to the potential transplant candidate: Annual activity report and National Organ Retrieval Service policies and reports.

Next section: Liver