Friday 15 December 2017

Two surgeons to support pancreas transplants here


Elaine Battersby
Elaine Battersby

Two permanent surgeons who have been appointed to support St Vincent's Hospital's new national pancreas-transplant programme will take up their posts in January.

It emerged earlier this year that the programme was moving from Beaumont Hospital to St Vincent's in Ballsbridge.

Patients and their families have expressed concerns about when the programme would get up and running.

Mark Murphy, CEO of the Irish Kidney Association, said that two pancreas surgeons will be in place in St Vincent's in January.

In the meantime, if suitable organs become available, a surgeon from Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary would travel to Ireland to assist in any transplant operations that may take place, Mr Murphy said.


He said that this arrangement would last between now and January.

"Patient joint-assessment clinics have taken place so it remains now for suitable organs to become available," he said.

Dublin-based patient Elaine Battersby (39), who received a pancreas and kidney transplant five years ago, after suffering from type one diabetes from the age of 11, said that patients were continuing to meet with St Vincent's and a representative from Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland.

"Patients want a restart of the national programme at Vincent's without any further delays," she said.

"We had originally believed it would be up and running in September, but this hasn't happened," she added.

Last July, Health Minister Leo Varadkar outlined what was happening with the programme in the Seanad.

He pointed out that the consultant who undertook pancreas transplants at Beaumont Hospital retired at the end of 2014.

"Given the limited number of surgeons who specialise in transplantation, the filling of such vacancies poses a challenge," he said.

Mr Varadkar said that Beaumont was working with St Vincent's on a combined approach to kidney and pancreas transplants.

A spokesperson for St Vincent's said that "it has appointed two permanent transplant surgeons to support the pancreas-transplant programme, and it is expected they will take up these posts in January next.

"In the interim, surgeons from the Edinburgh Hospital will travel to Dublin to assist in any transplant operations that may take place," the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Beaumont Hospital said it is working with St Vincent's to ensure the continuity and development of a sustainable national pancreas -transplant programme.

Joint assessment clinics between Beaumont Hospital and St Vincent's began in July in Beaumont, it said.

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