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Shy bairns get no sweets!

Jacki Newby, Head of Referral and Offering at ODT, talks about the challenges and opportunities that the new ODT Hub is bringing to the organisation.

Jacki Newby, Head of Referral and Offering at ODT

I hope you noticed the change to the title of my blog because after months of planning we made the change and we have become the ODT Hub.

The Duty Office and Information Services officially became the ODT Hub on the 25th September and we enjoyed a very successful opening ceremony with Sally [Johnson, ODT Director] cutting the ribbon on our new service.

We welcomed many attendees from the donation and transplant community and we were able to share past success and our plans for the future. Our next big event will be a transformational change to the liver registration and allocation process which we plan to introduce in March; more about this in the next blog when I explain both the changes and the benefits we expect to see for those people waiting for a liver transplant.

ODT Director Sally Johnson cutting the ribbon at the ODT Hub opening ceremonyWhat we actually did on opening day was to begin the phased introduction of Hub Operations undertaking the offering of cardiothoracic organs (heart and lungs) rather than our Specialist Nurses (SN-ODs). This has proven successful and Hub Operations currently have responsibility for offering heart and lungs from DBD (donor after brain death) and lungs from DCD (donor after circulatory death) for 8 of the 12 donation teams.

We plan that the remaining cardiothoracic organ offering from the final four donation teams will be performed by Hub Operations by December and, in the next financial year we expect that the Hub we be making every organ offer.

From the outside you may think this is a small change, its just one team making organ offers rather than another team, but for SN-ODs, recipient coordinators and Hub Operations staff this is a huge change and one which presents both challenges and opportunities and I would like to personally thank everyone involved for making this change as smooth and successful as possible.

In order to improve our working practices in this new system, and to build relationships with our transplant colleagues, we held a cardiothoracic workshop in October with representatives from organ donation nursing, quality, governance, Hub Operations and every cardiac transplant centre.

The event produced lots of constructive ideas and we have given ourselves a lot of work over the next few months to improve how we give offers, how we improve the information held in these offers and how we receive decisions from our transplant colleagues. This work ties in with the work currently under way to shorten the length of time the donation process takes and I expect our joint initiatives will result in a shorter, safer donation process in the coming year.

I know we have asked a lot from all our colleagues with the amount and the speed of changes over the last few months, but as Geordies say, shy bairns get no sweets, and more importantly these changes are already showing benefit.

We have seen an increase of around 30% in lung transplantation since the new lung allocation policy was introduced in May and we expect the new liver allocation will save more lives; now that’s a result!