herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

100 transplant ops delayed by queues while donors wait

COMMENTS: Irish Kidney Association's Mark Murphy. Photo: Mark Condren
COMMENTS: Irish Kidney Association's Mark Murphy. Photo: Mark Condren

A TOTAL of 100 patients are still on waiting lists for kidneys despite having relatives and friends ready and willing to donate.

The Irish Kidney Association (IKA) wants "more action and less talk" for the patients who could greatly benefit from a live transplant operation.

"So far it's only been talk. We would love to see an action plan," Irish Kidney Association CEO Mark Murphy said.

The 100 patients waiting for live transplant operations could have to wait up to three years because of facility shortages.

He stressed that Health Minister James Reilly made €14.5m available in June for the national kidney transplant programme at Beaumont Hospital.

"The minister has handed over the money so now it's up to the hospital," Mr Murphy added.

He also pointed out that taking kidney patients off dialysis through a transplant operation "not alone doubles the life-expectancy and life-quality of the patient, it also saves money".

Kidney transplants have been calculated to save the taxpayer €750,000 in dialysis costs during the lifetime of the person receiving the new organ.

COMMON

Last year 250,000 kidney dialysis procedures were carried out in Ireland, which was the single most common procedure for day patients at acute hospitals, accounting for one fifth of all day case attendances.

In the case of live kidney transplants, the donors include brothers, sisters, husbands and wives of the kidney patients, who range in age from their 20s to their mid 50s, according to Mr Murphy.

A spokesman for Beaumont Hospital said live donor operations were being carried out each week at the hospital.

These operations needed "two theatres simultaneously and so in order to increase the number of live donor operations, a number of things need to be in place at the same time."

This included the appointment of surgeons and an anaesthetist for a new theatre at the hospital. It also required urologists and an anaesthetist for Connolly Hospital to allow Beaumont "move other surgical work" out and "make space" for the kidney operations.

A total of 30 new posts had been advertised last May, the spokesman added.

Surgeons and urologists would be appointed from this month onwards, along with scientific staff and nursing staff for the ward and theatre. Anaesthetist interviews were also taking place this month.

Equipment for the new operating theatre was out to tender and should be bought by the end of this year. A new transplant ward was expected to be ready by autumn of next year.

The new 34-station out-patient dialysis unit would be ready to take patients by next autumn but might come on stream earlier, he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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