Medical Director Bulletin

Monthly communication from the ODT Medical Director

August 2022

Message from Professor Derek Manas

Hi all,

How time flies. Summer is officially over and it’s back to earth with a reality check. Hope most of you have had time to get some sun, whether it was ‘home or away’ here’s hoping it recharged the batteries.

I for one, enjoyed the cricket and the Newcastle sunshine. Yes, I did say Newcastle sunshine – believe it or not. Well, I think we cannot avoid the ‘elephant in the room’ so let’s get it out there.

The last few weeks have been, traumatic, upsetting, and disturbing and hopefully we can close the door on that chapter, not to ignore it or pretend it didn’t happen but to embrace change, diversity, openness, and inclusivity.

Here is a personal message from Wendy Clarke, the new Interim CEO for NHSBT:

"One of the many enjoyable things about stepping into the CEO role has been spending more time hearing about the great work that we are doing in areas like cellular and gene therapies and organ transplantation.

"I’m looking forward to learning more about those and other areas and I’m already identifying the things that I need to do to support medical colleagues in delivering against our strategy, whether that is working with sponsors, supporting funding requests or simply sharing more information about the impact our work has on patients.

"I also want to take the opportunity to recognise that the recent stories about our organisation in the press related to racism, discrimination, bullying and harassment will have impacted you.

"Some of you may have personally experienced bad behaviours and others may find yourselves trying to explain to colleagues across the NHS what is going on here at NHSBT and whether we have a firm grip on the issues and are working to resolve them. The Board, my exec colleagues and I are determined to resolve these issues and it is right at the top of my priority list.

"We will be communicating regularly on our activities and progress, and I’d invite you to share any feedback you have with me directly. I look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming months and if you think I’d benefit from learning more about your area of work please get in touch’.

All the best, Wendy."

As the transplant clinical community, I’m sure you will join me in welcoming Wendy into the role of Interim Chief Executive and hope she can rely on us to support her in anyway as she navigates her new role.

COVID still lurks, and we are having to revise our thinking on COVID positive donors. We have recently revised Policy 304, which deals with COVID positive donors, with more emphasis on understanding clinical risk rather than microbiological results, as many donors are incidentally found to be positive and COVID is not a primary cause of death.

This change, approved by the clinical team, will allow a more permissive attitude when considering organs from such donors. Please look out for it. Again, another reminder that the TRAC tools are there to be used so please don’t forget to use them.

If we can show that clinicians are finding it useful, we can consider developing them further in the future. We are still awaiting the final OUG recommendations (due to political purdah), but early evidence suggests that utilization has improved over the last quarter, and that’s a tribute to the CLU project and the community engaging in a change in culture.

So, thanks to Chris Callaghan, Diana Garcia, Claire Williment, and the team for leading the way. I’d like to congratulate Dale Gardiner on the ‘Commonwealth Tribute to life’ team for the fantastic inaugural ceremony in Birmingham, and here’s looking forward to the next 5 years of collaboration across the commonwealth.

I’d also like to congratulate the Edinburgh and Cambridge Normothermic Regional Perfusion (NRP) teams on their recent publication and to recognise the fantastic efforts of the national NRP steering group (led by Chris Watson and Ian Currie) in training the NORS teams. Thank you.

Improved organ utilisation and better transplant outcomes with in situ Normothermic Regional Perfusion in controlled donation after circulatory death - infographic (PNG 2.78MB)

Another congratulations, to the Leeds Liver unit in recognition of their Living donor liver transplant program – celebrating the 100th transplant. This is taking place on the 12 October in Leeds.

And finally, many of you will have been at the British Transplantation Society conference in Belfast, where the society celebrated their 50th anniversary.

The OTDT team at BTSHaving been a past President of the society and meeting up with other past presidents I was proud, emotional, and impressed. Congratulations to Lisa Burnapp and her executive team for making it such a special occasion.

And finally, my quote for the day.

‘Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat’ - Steve Jobs

Yours sincerely,

Derek Manas signature 

Professor Derek Manas

Medical Director – OTDT

NHS Blood Transplant

Message provided by:

Dr Dale Gardiner, Associate Medical Director - Deceased Organ Donation Mr Kealan Jones, Project Manager Commonwealth Tribute to Life Project

Cautionary Tales

Sharing learning from events across the organ donation and transplantation pathway.

The latest cautionary tales for September 2022 are available to download on our shared learning page.

NHSBT NORS Virtual Retrieval Masterclass

Monday 9 to Wednesday 11 January 2023

Why attend the masterclass?

The National Organ Retrieval Service (NORS) retrieves organs from donors on behalf of transplant centres and the level of skill of NORS team members has a significant bearing organ quality, organ damage and transplant outcomes.

Attending the Organ Retrieval Masterclass equips delegates with the knowledge and skills required to work within NORS. Step-by-step teaching in abdominal and cardiothoracic retrieval with expert retrieval surgeons and practitioners will be complemented by cutting edge demonstrations of emerging technologies.

About the course

The faculty will be drawn from across the UK and includes world-leading clinicians in the field of organ retrieval and transplantation.

This masterclass is mandatory for full registration as a retrieval surgeon in the UK. The Masterclass will be a virtual event to ensure the greatest number are able to attend.

Who is the course for?

The course will be aimed at practitioners with an interest in abdominal (liver, pancreas, kidney) and cardiothoracic (heart, lung) organ retrieval and transplantation.

  • UK surgeons seeking full registration with NHS Blood and Transplant to lead their NORS team
  • Surgeons with an interest in solid organ retrieval from deceased donors
  • Healthcare professionals with an interest in organ donation, organ retrieval and organ preservation such as perioperative practitioners, perfusion specialists and intensivists

The registration fee is £90 for non-surgical delegates and £200 for surgical delegates. As NHSBT employees, Specialist Nurses in Organ Donation may request to attend at the email address below.
Holders of NHSBT Retrieval Masterclass Certificates (previous attendees) may attend for a refresher. The registration fee for this category is £25 for perioperative practitioners and £50 for surgeons.

Register for the NORS Masterclass now

Should you require any further information please email

We hope to welcome you all in January 2023!

On behalf of the National Faculty

Ian Currie

Mr Ian Currie
Masterclass Co-Chair
Associate Medical Director (Retrieval) NHSBT
Edinburgh Transplant Centre
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Marius Berman

Mr Marius Berman
Masterclass Co-Chair
Associate UK Clinical Lead for Organ Retrieval, NHSBT
Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge