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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. For more information see the minutes and papers presented at the Kidney Advisory Group.

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


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.

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

The following policies can be found on our Policies and guidance page:

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.

You can find the kidney allocation policy on our Policies and guidance page.

Kidney donation

Some kidneys are donated by living donors - Read about the processes involved

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.

To find the waiting times for each centre please read the Annual Report on Kidney Transplantation

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 (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 outcomes from listing and outcomes from transplantation by centre within the Annual report on kidney transplantation.

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. 

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