Intended for healthcare professionals


Standards set to improve UK transplantation services

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 28 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1475
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. London

    The British Transplantation Society has published its first set of standards for best practice in an attempt to rationalise transplantation services across the country.

    Mr Bob Johnson, president of the society, explained that the standards have been produced because it has long been recognised that there is a need for uniformity in the specialty. “Transplantation has developed very rapidly over the last 30 years, and there is great variability in performance from centre to centre, and this is higher in the UK than in either Europe or the US. We want to see this variation minimised and hope that producing these standards will set the process in motion to achieve this,” he said.

    Minimum standards are set to ensure that those centres which are performing less well match the output of the average UK centre. For example, the standards suggest that renal transplantation units should perform a minimum of 50 transplant operations a year and aim for at least 75. In addition, they recommend that surgeons should work in teams of at least four because the work is both intensive and demanding. The report also suggests that services should be offered round the clock. “It is very difficult to get bad results if surgeons are working in a peer group even if this means that some smaller units are forced to close while others expand,” Mr Johnson explained.

    Towards Standards for Organ and Tissue Transplantation in the United Kingdom is available from the British Transplantation Secretariat, PO Box 352, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1GJ (£5 each for fewer than five copies and £3 each for six or more copies).

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