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Cystic Fibrosis patients call for transplant allocation rethink

Cystic Fibrosis experts are calling for a government rethink on how transplants, especially lung transplants are carried out. With only 1 in every 5 pairs of lungs that are donated actually being transplanted, charities and experts alike are calling for a new system.

The reviewed approach would see the current procedure of suitable donor lungs being allocated to the nearest regional transplant centre completely altered. Today’s system means that a patient currently on the lung transplant waiting list will have their search for a transplant pair of lungs restricted to the area in which they live, and even if a transplant became available in a different region, it would risk being wasted due to the limited amount of time (in most cases this is 8 hours) a donor organ has before it has to be thrown away.

Campaigners are arguing that there should be a national system in place, where the most urgent patients receive the organ before others, similar to the US. They state that by setting up a national lung allocation system to ensure lungs suitable for transportation are matched with those in need, regardless of where they live, is likely to minimise waiting times for patients and increase the rate of successful lung transplants. However, many argue that the 8 hour limit on organs before they are wasted is there for a reason and that long distances between donor and recipient patient could see doctor’s taking risks with donor organs and time restraints.

There’s been a long-running movement for change in Government law which calls for a ‘presumed consent’ for organ donation, instead of the current system of voluntary signing up to the organ donor register – a movement which amounted in changing the law in 2013, which means that as of December 2015, people across the UK will be presumed to have given consent for their organs to be donated, legislation which means that the rate of people dying whilst waiting to have a transplant should dramatically fall.

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