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Medical Director Bulletin

Monthly communication from the ODT Medical Director

February 2020

Message from Professor John Forsythe

Professor John Forsythe gives a presentation

Dear All,

Many of you will have heard me state that I could not do this job without a strong Medical team, not least able and active Chairs of the Advisory Groups.

Sadly, all at once, three Chairs have come to the end of their extended tenure of five years at the helm.

John Casey will step down from the Pancreas Advisory Group (PAG)

John has overseen a number of initiatives including the relevant aspect of the new Kidney/Pancreas Offering Scheme and he has also managed the competing demands between the Islet and the Pancreas schemes, working with others in the Group. John has also, in the background, dealt with governance issues in a fair and temperate way – supportive but appropriate to good governance. John remains as Chair of the Scottish Donation and transplantation Group and will, I am sure, continue his research interests in ATMPs.

Gabi Oniscu will step down from the Research and Innovation and Novel Technologies Advisory Group (RINTAG).

There was much to do in this group from a standing start and Gabi has overseen the installation of a clear process for Research applications and a fair and transparent allocation scheme for organs donated for research. He has also supported novel technologies at an important time in the development of these interventions. Gabi has recently taken over as Clinical Director in Edinburgh so any spare time in giving up RINTAG will rapidly be filled, I am sure.

Peter Friend will step down from the Multi-visceral & Composite Tissue Advisory Group (MCTAG).  Peter has been a senior member, or a lead, in a number of Advisory Groups over the last many years. His attention to detail and Commitment is second to none and he has contributed a huge amount to each group. I always look to Peter when there is a complex problem that requires a cerebral but non- standard solution. When he speaks, people listen.

I know that Peter will maintain a clinical presence and will further grow his prodigious research output.

I am hugely grateful to all three.

Clearly, we will be looking for “Expressions of Interest” in taking on these three important roles as John, Gabi and Peter step down.

We will be writing out to the relevant people in a short while, and I know that all three are happy to speak to prospective candidates.  Anyone who wishes to know more details should contact Ambreen at ambreen.iqbal@nhsbt.nhs.uk


Yours sincerely,


Professor John Forsythe

Associate Medical Director of ODT


Help us dispel misinformation on social media

False information regarding organ donation and the law change has been spreading on social media and via WhatsApp messages for some time. As we grow closer to spring 2020 when the law will change in England, we are asking for your help to dispel misinformation on social media, in private messaging platforms and within your communities.

The types of misinformation we have seen has varied from false deadlines for opting out of organ donation to the Government taking control of people’s organs.

As you know, adults covered by the legislation (once it comes into effect) will still have a choice about whether or not they want to be an organ donor and families will still be consulted if organ donation is possible.

Below are three examples of text which we are encouraging you to copy and paste as posts on your social media accounts or within WhatsApp groups with your family, friends and local communities. The hyperlinks lead to pages on the NHS Organ Donation website where people can find the right information for them and most importantly, get the facts.

Suggested texts to share:

  • Have questions about the upcoming organ donation law change in England? Find out more about what's changing and your choices: http://bit.ly/34oIY4A
  • Misinformation about the change in law around organ donation is circulating online. An opt out system is coming into place in England, but not until spring 2020. Organ donation remains a choice and families will still be involved.Get the facts: https://bit.ly/37peyRm
  • Discover the truth behind some common misconceptions about organ donation after death and hear from the experts. Your organ donation decision is important, whatever it may be. Don't be swayed by misinformation. Get the facts: https://bit.ly/37peyRm

It is our job to ensure that people have access to the facts to help them make an informed decision. By sharing these messages, you will be directing people to our pages which have accurate information.

If you discover information that you believe to be false, you should also notify our Press Office: pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Thank you for your support.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation

Andrea Ttofa, Head of Organ Donation Marketing

Please note: The latest International data on organ donation and transplantation is available in slide form. These slides may be useful for any upcoming presentations.

Update from Katie Morley, Lead Nurse Recipient Coordinator, NHS Blood and Transplant 

Katie Morley

Thank you to all the Recipient Co-ordinators who responded about the idea of combining the CDDF and MaSH forms. Your comments have been noted and this has contributed to the development of one form for presenting donor data which will hopefully be delivered later this year.

Well done to everyone who has had an abstract accepted for the upcoming BTS conference in Belfast. The draft programme has a breadth of presenters on a wide variety of topics. It looks set to be a thought-provoking event.

Organ Donation Week has been confirmed and the campaign will take place between Monday 14th – Sunday 20th September 2020. Communication will be circulated in due course with details of how to order promotional materials for the week and to share plans. In the meantime, if there are any queries please direct these to marketing.comms@nhsbt.nhs.uk

For the attention of Specialist Nurses in Organ and Tissue Donation

Please see link below for the module 3 dates with updated dates and room capacity information. For confirmation, this training will need a whole day as it will include ‘legislation specific’ PDA training in addition to the PDA training being undertaken by the PDS and HIL’s. These days will run 1030-1530 and include a 30-minute lunch break.


Your specific link for your regional team list remains as it was. So please use that for booking the places on the courses as sent in your regional specific e-mail last week.

As you know, our commitment to the DHSC is that all (100%) of operational staff who undertake clinical on call to facilitate organ and tissues donors will be trained in all of the modules regarding deemed consent. If this is not achieved by the time the legislation goes live, individual staff members will not be able to continue their on-call duties.

Please book as advised below;

1)       Attendance at your operational team date if possible. If not possible;

2)       Contact a neighbouring team and ascertain if space to join them at their team date. If not possible;

3)       Attend a cluster date. If not possible;

4)       Contact a team out of your cluster and attend their date if anyone unable to make any of the other options.

Please be aware that travel is not funded by the ‘opt out’ cost code for this module.

Once you have allocated everyone a date (and only then), please e mail Lizzie Abbott-Davies to confirm your list is complete, to cut down on e mail traffic to her.

For anyone on long term sick / absent / sabbatical / mat leave there will be a ‘Mega Module’ which encompasses all 3 modules. These will now take place on (South) on Wednesday 15th April - Stoke Gifford and (North) Monday 18th May - Newcastle. Please contact Lizzie Abbot-Davies if you know of anyone returning who will need this module and book them a space with Lizzie please.

Learning from Excellence

Many of you will have heard of ‘Learning from Excellence’ and I pleased to share that we now have a route through ODT for all those within organ donation and transplantation, both internal to ODT and external, to highlight excellence within the pathway.

Everyone generally comes to work to do a good job, but traditionally the focus has been on the small percentage of times when something goes wrong, rather than the significant percentage of when it goes well, or when people go over and above.

Whilst we do still need to look at when things go wrong and what we can learn, by sharing when things go right, we can not only open a different route to strengthen the pathway, but help improve resilience and staff morale by sharing the positive feedback.

Please share the link below with your colleagues: https://www.odt.nhs.uk/odt-structures-and-standards/governance-and-quality/learning-from-excellence/

If you have any feedback or suggestions, please let me know via my email: Jeanette.foley@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Law change enquiries

Enquiries from members of the public should be forwarded to optout.enquiries@nhsbt.nhs.uk or to our dedicated enquiry line 0300 123 23 23.

Press or media queries or people wanting to support the campaign or share their story, should be directed to the press office:

Enquiries from charities, political figures (or organisations) and governments should be sent to externalaffairs@nhsbt.nhs.uk (mailbox monitored 09:00-17:00, Mon-Fri).

Meetings and events

Welcome to ESOT Transplant Live: Through education, we inspire, connect and innovate the transplant community globally. Various interesting and educational online courses in one place. Sign up to participate and experience the inspiring lectures and case studies led by leading professors.

To access all facilities of this learning environment, you need to have a user account. Registered users can log in directly with their user account. Unregistered users can create an account. Follow this link for further information: https://www.esottransplantlive.org/

6th Congress of the Spanish Transplantation Society - SET2020

8 -10 May 2020

Málaga, Spain 

The Spanish Society of Transplantation (SET) is delighted to announce that the 6th edition of SET2020 Congress will take place in Málaga, Spain, from 8 -10 May 2020.

The purpose of the SET is to act as the voice of transplantation professionals within Spain, providing representation and organising activities, training courses, investigation programmes, congresses, educational and research scholarships and awards.

Information about the congress will be added to the SET2020 website and on Twitter and Facebook.