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Medical Director Bulletin

Monthly communication from the ODT Medical Director

June 2019

Message from Professor John Forsythe

Professor John Forsythe gives a presentation

This month, two very important developments to report that represent a huge amount of work from many people both in and outside ODT.

I am delighted that we have got to this point and I asked Karen Quinn (pictured), whose team has led on both these projects, to give a brief note on the projects.

Donor characterisation review

Following the completion of the donor characterisation review (in relation to Histocompatibility and Microbiology), Prof Sue Fuggle has led work to enable the commissioning of the donor characterisation service in England. This required accountability and funding for the service to be clarified.

I’m pleased to report that this has now been agreed, and we are grateful to colleagues in NHS England who have worked collaboratively to solve any obstacles – as a result NHS England will be facilitating the transfer of funds to NHSBT as of April 2022.Karen Quinn

In the meantime, a project implementation board, chaired by Dr Richard Baker and led by Emma Billingham will be established to take this important commissioning development forward.

The issues in this service were far less prevalent in other parts of the UK, therefore changes in the donor characterisation in these nations is not planned to change.

Joint innovation fund

We are delighted to report an interim fund to address some of the needs of new technology in organ assessment and repair.

UK cardiothoracic teams, especially colleagues in Cambridge, have been world trailblazers in developing DCD heart retrieval and transplantation.

We are delighted to report that a three-year joint innovation fund has been agreed between NHSBT and NHS England to continue to support the ongoing development of the service whilst alternative sustainable funding models can be agreed.

ODT and NHS England have already met with all cardiothoracic teams to share this exciting news and we look forward to working with them in further planning of the service.

Residual risk

Also, many of you may be interested in a recent publication that addresses the residual risk of a transplanted organ after donor characterisation is complete. Read the publication - Infections and associated behaviours among deceased organ donors: Informing the assessment of risk.

The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) will soon be launching a consultation on changes to their Code of Practice F: Donation of solid organs and tissue for transplantation.

They have amended the code of practice to reflect changes to the Human Tissue Act 2004 as a result of the changes to organ donation in England which are covered in the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019.

The revised code will provide advice and guidance to organ and tissue donation and transplant professionals in England on how the new opt-out system will affect their practice from spring 2020.

To ensure you have your say on the amended code of practice, the HTA will hold a consultation in June. Further updates and information on the consultation will be available on the HTA website, their e-newsletter, and also in the July edition of the ODT Medical Director’s Communication Bulletin.

If you have any queries about the consultation, please email the HTA: enquiries@hta.gov.uk


Professor John Forsythe

Associate Medical Director of ODT

Ben Hume, Assistant Director – Transplantation Support Services, NHS Blood and Transplant, update on the digitisation of the HTA A and B Forms

I wanted to take this opportunity to give you an update on how we are progressing our work on digitising the HTA A and B Forms (respectively, sharing of donor and recipient data).Ben Hume smile in front of some trees

The digitisation of the recipient B Form has progressed well; with the last teams attending their training workshops and going digital during May.

The paper form will be kept as a backup but will be phased out during the summer for general use.

In March 2019, the ODT senior management team were unable to support a plan to deliver a digital HTA A Form during 2019/20.

This was due to its cost and concerns about the greater use of IT systems shared with our blood colleagues, following the ending of their core system modernisation programme.

Since that time, we have begun reviewing our requirements and options for delivering a digital donor A Form.

This will include a demonstration prototype, which we plan to evaluate with small user group in the coming months.

The testing will cover the usability of the form and the device (iPads), in live environments, including with some of our retrieval teams (who have the legal responsibility for completing the form).

The results of this work will be evaluated at the end of the summer, at which time we will then need to decide next steps within the ODT senior management team. Once I know more about this, I will share with you how we intend to progress with this project.

In the meantime, we will be considering whether updates to the paper A Form are required, and whether these can be delivered without unduly increasing the documentation burden.

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

Another busy month has passed and lots of interesting meetings have been attended.

Katie MorleyThank you to the Glasgow cardiothoracic team for hosting a great meeting.

Not only was the venue superb, the hospitality was fabulous, the meeting was informative and provided an ideal opportunity to network, share best practice and generate ideas for new projects.

The Harefield team have volunteered to host the next meeting which will be held on 31 October 2019.

This month I have also managed to attend both the liver advisory group and the cardiothoracic patient group meeting.

Both offered something very different, but it was great to see a collaborative sharing of ideas and practice.

I’m looking forward to being able to attend the other advisory group meetings.

The Ambassador programme is being rolled out across the north of England during June and July. Details about this opportunity can be found on the NHS Jobs website.

Questions can be directed to Katy Portell at: Ambassadors.ODT@nhsbt.nhs.uk. It’s a great opportunity for anyone wanting to be directly involved with people whose lives have been touched by transplant.

Handling phone calls and e-mails about opt-out organ donation legislation

Enquires about opt-out organ donation legislation from members of the public and campaign groups are starting to trickle in to NHSBT via a range of different routes, numbers and e-mail addresses.

If you receive a phone call refer the caller to the NHS Organ Donor Line: 0300 123 23 23

If you receive an email forward it to: OptOutEnquiries@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Please also take the time to read through the following information:

When in doubt, refer to the NHS Organ Donor Line: 0300 123 23 23 or forward the e-mail to: OptOutEnquiries@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Meetings and events

19th Congress of the European Society for Organ Transplantation

15 - 18 September 2019

We are truly delighted to cordially invite you to be inspired and experience real progress at the ESOT Congress in Copenhagen, a transplant meeting of truly great scientific substance delivered in great ESOT style!

The philosophy behind every ESOT Congress is that every two years we produce a totally new congress in content and format; ESOT Copenhagen 2019 not only follows this rule but aspires to be the best transplant congress ever!

ESOT Copenhagen 2019 is designed to be your congress, tailoring and targeting its content to the discipline that you serve, the stage of your career journey in transplantation and your professional aspirations.

Knowledge will be delivered through a plethora of networking opportunities leading to new collaborations so that the end of the congress will mark many new beginnings in transplantation.

We aim to explore the edge of our current practice and achievements and also challenge each other about great things that have not yet happened, ask ourselves, why not? and pave together the way forward.

Looking at the hot topics of the congress (which are just the appetisers for a great feast…), we will learn from history and each other, make patients active partners in our endeavours, vigorously debate our ethical conduct, take deep dives in the waters of basic and translational science so that we can bring to the surface clinical solutions, admit the moments we reached our clinical limits and explore how to push them further, debate and design innovation with realism and all in the context of our palpable and substantial professional development.

Furthermore, the ESOT award winning digital congress innovations have now reached new heights and they are designed to bring people together (even if they are not physically at the congress!), maximise their interaction and advance their knowledge.

Last but most certainly not least, all these are going to happen in Copenhagen, a dream city that can make those who adore classic fairy tales and the enthusiasts of modern miracles equally happy and in the Bella Conference Centre that is designed to make your time at the Congress Productive and Enjoyable.

Join us in Copenhagen! Be inspired and drive progress!

Vassilios Papalois and Allan Rasmussen
Scientific Program Committee Chairs

Further information about the event.

Certification of European Transplant Coordinators - EBSQ exams

On behalf of President of the Board of Transplant Coordinators we would like to announce that applications are available on UEMS Surgery website and the deadline for application is June 30 2019.

NHSBT multi-organ retrieval masterclass

17 - 18 December 2019

De Vere Tortworth Court and Bristol University Clinical Training Centre

De Vere Tortworth Court
This is a two-day workshop designed to optimise the quality of organs offered for transplantation by improving retrieval practice. The course is aimed at surgical trainees with an interest in abdominal (liver, pancreas, kidney) and cardiothoracic (heart, lung) organ donations and transplantation. It includes lectures and workshops together with practical demonstrations of relevant techniques involving all participants.

For those who seek competency to participate in a national organ retrieval service team in the UK, this masterclass is a mandatory part of the required competency registration as a retrieval surgeon in the UK.

To register your interest, please send your details to caroline.wills@nhsbt.nhs.uk

ODT Care 
  • Tuesday 13 August 2019, 10:00 – 14:00
    • Telecon
  • Tuesday 8 October 2019, 10:30 – 14:30
    • The Principal Hotel, York 
  • Tuesday 10 December 2019, 10:00 – 14:00
    • Telecon

RINTAG DCD Hearts Working Group
  • Monday 2 December 2019, 10:30 – 15:30
    • At The Fielding Room, The QEII Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE (new CORAM premises) 

Other meetings

Details of upcoming group meetings: