EU lacks cross-border cooperation on access to transplants, experts warn –

Experts and doctors have stressed the need for greater cooperation between member states and greater transparency on organ waiting lists as a shortage of transplant organs in the EU results in growing waiting lists.

For patients with kidney failure, the kidney is the most common organ transplanted, followed by the lung, liver, and heart.

According to data from the European Commission, in 2021, a total of 15,684 kidney transplants, 6,483 liver transplants, 2,026 heart transplants and 1,711 lung transplants were performed in the EU.

While the total number of transplants has been approximately 26,000, twice as many patients (52,000) remain on the waiting list as demand for available organs far exceeds supply.

With wait times so long, clear and reliable information must be provided, Professor Thomas Müller from Zurich Hospital said this at a hybrid event organized by the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union on Thursday and Friday (9-10 November).

“The acquisition and allocation of transplants to patients on the waiting list should be very transparent. There should be a clear procedural flow on how patients are placed on the waiting list, how patients are treated and there should be traceability,” Müller said.

The shortage mainly involves kidneys. According to Eurotransplant, nearly 10,000 patients from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia were waiting for a kidney transplant at the end of 2021. However, fewer than 3,000 kidneys were transplanted in the countries mentioned that year.

Muller stressed the need for greater cooperation between EU countries and insisted that “cross-border cooperation” would facilitate transplants and help patients find available organs.

He believed that every country should be self-sufficient and meet the needs of its own people.

Spain: EU and world leader

When it comes to access to transplantation, Spain is an exception, with the country currently leading both world and European indicators in the field of transplantation.

In 2020, there were approximately 37 organ donors per million inhabitants in Spain. By comparison, Germany had 11 donors per million inhabitants in 2019, Italy 25 and France less than 30, according to the data. Essanuma social network for doctors and scientists.

One reason for this success is the number of doctors who are trained and skilled in transplant surgery.

“Over the past 15 years, more than 10,000 emergency professionals and almost 2,000 ICU residents have been trained,” Daniel Gallego of the European Federation of Renal Patients and the European Alliance for Renal Health said at the event organized by the Spanish Presidency.

In total, Spain has nearly 200 medical centers offering organ donation. But as in other member states, there are huge differences between different regions of the country, and some regions have only minor centres.

As a result, Spain has also set up teams of mobile doctors to make donations in all small centers across the country. The teams consist of “a surgeon, a transplant coordinator and a perfusionist,” Gallego said.

The mobility team has reduced the waiting list from six months in 2016 to about three months in 2023.

committee support

Although organ donation and transplantation is specific to each Member State and depends on its health system, the European Commission is looking for ways to support European countries at EU level.

“The European Commission is supporting national competent authorities (NCAs) by facilitating the sharing of information between them, including guidance from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), particularly during the COVID-19 crisis,” the EU executive said in a press release .

For example, the ECDC has plans for managing epidemic outbreaks that include testing blood, tissues, cells and organs. Recently, its latest assessment has focused on Ebola, West Nile virus, Zika virus and hepatitis A.

The Commission and EU law are also working on revising safety and quality standards for substances of human origin (SoHO). The Spanish EU Council Presidency hopes to reach a provisional agreement before the end of its term on December 31.

Muller concluded that all transplants should have the highest possible standard of care “in every country” without “any compromises.”

(Edited by Giedrė Peseckytė/Nathalie Weatherald)

Read more via EURACTIV

Source link

Leave a Comment